Despite injections and daily care, little Brooke loves school
- Credit: Archant
Despite living with a rare and complex genetic condition that necessitates a walking frame, regular injections and daily therapy, 11-year-old Brooke Sprawling is in many ways, a regular, happy girl who loves school.
"I like English," she said. "But I hate maths."
Brooke, from Swanton Morley, was diagnosed with ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a disorder that causes the immune system to break down, making the body susceptible to diseases.
Her mum, Justine, sand she believed there was only one other person with A-T in Norfolk, and around 200 in the whole country.
Mrs Sprawling said: "They have got a low immune system, she's on antibiotics full time and requires regular injections of immunoglobulin into her stomach.
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"During the week she wears leg splints because her legs are quite stiff - it's similar to cerebral palsy."
Brooke was diagnosed with A-T when she was two-and-a-half, although it was not easy to find a doctor who could correctly identify her condition. And it was made more difficult because Brooke's dad, Stefan, was serving in Afghanistan at the time with the RAF Regiment.
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She said: "I knew something wasn't right - why is she not doing this? Why can't she do that?
"Is she just slow and will she catch up with the other children?
"I needed to know what was wrong with her."
There is no cure for A-T, but Mrs Sprawling hopes the condition can be diagnosed sooner - hopefully even at birth - to help the families that will be affected.
Brooke started at Sheringham Woodfields - a special-needs school - in September, and swimming and arts and crafts have become two of her favourite activities.
Mrs Sprawling said: "She loves school and they can help her in a lot of ways that we couldn't - she gets hydrotherapy, rebound therapy and can take part in PE."
"It's really important to keep the muscles strong and moving."
Mrs Sprawling is organising a family fun day at Swanton Morley Village Hall tomorrow (Monday, May 27) from 11am to 2pm.
There will be stalls, cake and drinks, activities for children and a performance by the JDT Music Academy rock choir.
Proceeds will go to the A-T Society, which supports people living with the condition.