JLS saved my daughter”s life! Mother reveals how music tracks and meeting pop idols helped sick teen pull through Boy band member Aston Merrygold called Leah at hospital to help her through her lowest ebb”Without them I just don”t know how Leah would have pulled through,” mother says
A schoolgirl who came close to death after she was treated for suspected appendicitis, pulled through thanks to her favourite boy band.
Leah Price, 15, had her appendix removed in March 2011. But four weeks later her mother Kay noticed the surgery scar was bubbling.
To their horror, it suddenly exploded, leaking foul-smelling green puss.
Number one fan: Leah spent months recovering at home between hospital visits in her bedroom festooned with JLS memorabilia
Leah was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery on the infected wound and then treated at home. Leah lost two stone in weight as she struggled to eat and the wound exploded again in June.
This time she was diagnosed with chronic septicaemia. She underwent a blood transfusion and emergency surgery revealed she had a huge abscess on her bowel. Her parents Kay and Michael were warned there was a chance they could lose her.
But the JLS fan slowly started to recover boosted by a surprise phone call a few weeks later.
While she was staying at Royal Manchester Children”s Hospital nurses had alerted a charity to Leah”s plight who got in touch with JLS.
Leah, wearing a JLS jumper, reveals her infected wound. She has battled with ill-health for a year
Singer Aston Merrygold, 23, then phoned the hospital to give Leah a personal get well message.
Mrs Price said: “I was hoping they would sendher card but Aston picked up the phone and rang the hospital personally. When Leah took the call she burst into tears.”
Leah had to spend six weeks in isolation in hospital over the summer during which time she was diagnosed with Crohn”s disease.
But the teenager managed to battle on by listening to her favourite JLS songs as she lay in bed.
Her mother Kay, 45, an optician”s assistant from Leigh, Greater Manchester, said: “Throughout her stays in hospital listening to JLS was the only thing that really got Leah through.
“She had their posters up all around her room as well as having their DVD and CDs on constantly.
“No matter how many antibiotics and pain-killers she took, there was only one thing that could really help her feel better and that was listening to JLS.”
Then the charity Rays of Sunshine gave her an even greater reason to get better – they organised for Leah and her family to travel down to London to meet JLS in person in November.
“The lads were absolutely wonderful,” Mrs Price said.
“At one point Leah asked Aston where he got his bracelet from, so he just took it off and gave it to her.
“The day was so emotional because to go through so many months of unhappiness to finally see her so happy was fantastic, she didn”t stop crying tears of happiness.
“Without them I just don”t know how Leah would have pulled through.”
Dream come true: Leah met her idols last month after her wish was granted by the Rays of Sunshine charity
Although Leah”s recovery is far from over and she faces more surgery, the family is looking to the future.
Kay said: “Leah has been through so much and we are so proud of the way she has dealt with everything. I don”t think I”d have coped in her situation.
“We were so close as a family but with Leah being away from us for so we feel like we were split up as a family because her dad, Michael, and I had to take it in turns to stay at hospital with her.
“We know that there are going to be many more challenges in front of us but we are focusing now on sorting the immediate problems out and getting Leah better and back to school.”
LEAH”S BUMPY ROAD TO RECOVERY
November 2010 – started to feel ill with stomach cramps
March 2011 – visited doctors who diagnosed her withappendicitis and she was referred for surgery – spent five days in hospitalafter having appendix removed
April – wound exploded – she was rushed back to hospital andspent five days there. For next seven weeks districtnurses visited her home to pack her open wound
21 June – wound explodes again – went to Wigan HospitalA&E, then to Bolton Hospital the next day where she was admitted andunderwent blood transfusions and a scan which revealed a huge abscess on herbowel
25 June – Leah’s bowel ruptured, she was transferred toManchester Children’s Hospital and was fitted with a central line to rest herbowels
4 July – Aston from JLS called Leah in hospital, telling herto stay strong, which gave her a major boost
9 July – Leah was sent home from hospital
11 July – Leah was sent back into hospital as her wound wasleaking again, she was put in isolation for six weeks
26 July – Leah was diagnosed with Crohn”s disease and put ona liquid diet for eight weeks
1 Aug – Ray of Sunshine application submitted in which Leahcited ‘meeting JLS’ as her top wish
9 Aug – Leah received a phone call to say she had her wish
20 Aug – Leah was discharged from hospital
22 Nov – Leah got to meet JLS in person at a special event inLondon