Honey’s miraculous recovery from life-threatening illness

Homey Goodwin from Thetford has battled back from a life threatening illness and a bone marrow trans

Homey Goodwin from Thetford has battled back from a life threatening illness and a bone marrow transplant to be at home clebrating her 7th birthday. Honey is pictured with her brother Hunter (left) and sister Winter (middle) - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

She spent more than a year battling a life-threatening illness, meaning she couldn't go to school or play with her siblings.

Honey Goodwin a year ago, shortly after her bone marrow transplant. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Honey Goodwin a year ago, shortly after her bone marrow transplant. Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

But Honey Goodwin overcame her ailment against towering odds after receiving a bone marrow donation from her brother.

After her miraculously fast recovery, the seven-year-old is being used by her doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital as a positive case study for other families.

The Thetford youngster has chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), a genetic condition which means her immune system does not fight bacterial or fungal infections and whose sufferers are not expected to reach adulthood.

She underwent a bone marrow transplant last February with a donation from her four-year-old brother Hunter, the only one of her three siblings to have avoided the disease.

Homey Goodwin from Thetford has battled back from a life threatening illness and a bone marrow trans

Homey Goodwin from Thetford has battled back from a life threatening illness and a bone marrow transplant to be at home clebrating her 7th birthday. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Her brother Alex, eight, and sister Winter, two, also have the condition.

Despite the poor prognosis for CGD sufferers, Honey has made a miraculous recovery – lauded by doctors at Great Ormond Street as the fastest they'd ever seen.

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Her father Gary Goodwin, 35, said: 'She is back at school and doing really well. She had her hair up for the first time the other day.

'She will have to take penicillin once a day for the rest of her life, but other than that it is a complete turnaround.

'The other children who had their treatment with Honey are still in wheelchairs, but she is absolutely fine.'

Mr Goodwin said he and Honey's mother Danielle Smith, 28, were 'forced' into admitting Honey to hospital last year after her health deteriorated.

'It wasn't a choice. There is no choice when you have a sick child,' he said.

After her speedy recuperation, Honey rejoined Raleigh Infant School, in Thetford, last spring.

Due to her remarkable recovery rate, her story is being used as a positive case study for parents whose children are undergoing transplants at Great Ormond Street.

'She's used as an example for families who are a bit down about the situation,' Mr Goodwin said. 'Here is Honey, 12 months after transplant, and you really wouldn't know.

'It puts a smile back on their faces, because you only ever hear the bad stories and rarely get to hear about the good ones, and she is one of them.'

As well as their short life expectancy, sufferers of CGD are unable to touch common objects such as cut grass, mushrooms, straw and flowers.

Mr Goodwin said Alex is preparing to receive a bone marrow donation from Hunter, the second and last he will be able to give, but said his eldest son was 'perfectly healthy' and not subject to the same day-to-day restrictions as his sisters.

'Alex is a different story,' he said. 'We know he will get ill, but there is no sign of it in him.'

This week Mr Goodwin and his partner are taking Alex meet with the transplant team, along with sprightly Honey, who visits for regular check-ups, and Winter, who is seeing her immunologist.

'The doctors generally get it right so the appointments don't cross over,' added Mr Goodwin.

'We tend to go there more than our local hospitals because we know the doctors and they know us.'

Mr Goodwin said their children's contraction of CGD was due to he and Ms Smith having 'almost identical' DNA.

The disease is usually passed from mother to son, meaning only 15pc of sufferers are girls – making Honey and Winter's situation even more unusual.

He said: 'At one point we had the only two girls in the UK with CGD.

'Our DNA caused problems for our children. There was a one in four chance they would have this.

'But we are lucky, because despite our DNA being so similar our children only have physical problems and not mental ones. Those can be cured and the children can live relatively normally.'

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