THE family of a brave Wigan youngster who suffers from a rare illness have launched a research fund in her name.
In so many ways, nine-year-old Carrieanne North is just a typical little girl who loves being with friends and family.
However, since the day she was born, she has had a battle on her hands which nobody should have to fight.
Golborne Community Primary School pupil suffers from an as-yet unidentified form of muscular dystrophy. This means that she and parents Mark and Cheryl don’t know what the future holds in store.
It’s a tormenting situation to be in. But rather than sit back, they are determined to do all they can to fight it and have set up a fund to raise money for the charity Muscular Dystrophy.
“She was born with it but it has always been undiagnosed congenital myopathy before she was officially diagnosed at the age of seven,” said Cheryl.
“We always knew there was something, you could tell when she was born. There are about 90 different types though and we’re waiting for all the results from the tests she has had done at Great Ormond Street to identify it.
“They don’t know, none of us know what is going to happen. We have asked ourselves so many questions. We are so scared but we just don’t get on with it to be honest. If you don’t know the answers, there’s nothing you can do.
“We’ve noticed certain things, she seems to be gaining weight and growing but her muscle tone is not getting any better and seems to be staying as it is.
“Her problem at the moment is they need to monitor her spine and make sure there is no curvature. If that is going to happen it will happen through puberty.”
Born in March 2004, Carrieanne has been delayed in reaching various milestones in her life.
In May 2005, Mark and Cheryl welcomed their second daughter Courtney into the world and when she crawled at six months old, Carrieanne copied but struggled to hold her head up.
When she was 18 months old she took her first steps, much to the delight of her concerned parents. Over the years though, Carrieanne has struggled with the simplest of physical tasks like climbing stairs and climbing frames as well as running, jumping and walking. She has a wheelchair for long distances but is able to walk short distances.
The brave and plucky youngster underwent ultrasound scans, X-rays, CT scans, muscle biopsies and skin biopsies before consultants diagnosed her with congenital myopathy two years ago.
She has recently had MRI scans of her legs but the Norths will have to wait until February for the results which may determine which congenital myopathy she has.
Back at her home though, her friends and family have rallied round, including eight-year-old Courtney and Carrieanne’s youngest sister Cathryn.
“They seem to understand it better,” said Cheryl. “My youngest has got a friend who has got problems as well so she seems to understand the condition better for her age.
“They help her with stuff like getting her pyjamas and things like that which save her going upstairs.”
The couple have now set up their website www.carrieon-fighting.com and Twitter accounts @Carrieonfi and @NorthFighting to raise awareness.
This has helped Carrieanne come to terms with her condition more and feel less embarrassed about what it does to her body.
“It’s a fund to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy,” added Cheryl.
“I have set up the site because Carrieanne has always been embarrassed about her condition. But she can see people wanting to help now, her confidence has come on and she doesn’t seem to be embarrassed anymore and she doesn’t feel different.
“When we were out and about, she wouldn’t use her wheelchair as she was embarrassed about it but now she does seem to be handling it a bit better because she knows she’s helping others as well.
“She has shown the website to her friends at school and we’ve had a really good response. Everyone has always known there was something but not known what it is about.
“At the moment, we’re trying to sort out a charity waxing day at a family pub for March.
“We want some brave people to take part in that and my husband has got some more things set up and has an appointment with Andy Burnham on November 22 to help us set some more stuff up.”
The North family are all huge Wigan Athletic players and a number of player’s have already shown their support.
At present, they have a Europa League football signed by the squad up for auction in a bid to kick off a campaign which will hopefully one day rid Carrieanne of her cruel illness.