Family delighted at Wigan tot's progress after pioneering brain surgery

A six-year-old girl with a rare genetic disorder is recovering “remarkably well” after pioneering brain surgery which looks set to change her life.

Saturday, 9th November 2019, 9:15 am
Lucy Campbell with daughter Hallie Campbell

Doctors are already seeing improvements in Hallie Campbell, just days after the procedure was carried out, and are hailing it a success.

She travelled to Poland with her family for gene replacement therapy thanks to a fund-raising appeal, which saw generous Wiganers help to raise £70,000 within weeks.

After the surgery, which took place on Tuesday, her mother Lucy posted on Facebook: “I am so pleased to say that Hallie is recovering extremely well and the procedure has been a total success!

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“The care she has received has been incredible! The staff are so kind, loving, caring and compassionate. The hospital is extremely advanced with its equipment and world-leading surgeons!

“I am so proud of Hallie for her bravery and resilience. She has recovered remarkably well with her beautiful beaming smile!

“We can’t wait for Hallie to show us what she is able to do over the next few years!

”Words will never be enough, but we will forever be indebted to each and every one of you for giving Hallie this amazing life-changing opportunity!

“️Now there really is ‘#HopeforHallie’.”

Hallie has aromatic amino acid decarboxylase deficiency (AADCd), a genetic disorder that causes severe developmental delays, weak muscle tone, involuntary movement of arms and legs and painful seizures. She cannot sit, walk or talk.

It is so rare that only around 130 people worldwide have the condition, including five in the UK, where Hallie is the only female.

Speaking to the Wigan Post, Lucy, from Hindley, said the new gene therapy treatment has a 100 per cent success rate for stopping eye crises – the painful seizures Hallie had every couple of days, sometimes lasting for hours.

Scans have shown the treatment is working and doctors believe Hallie has had her last eye crisis.

Lucy said her daughter also has increased movement after the seven-hour procedure.

She said: “I am elated. We are over the moon. She is so resilient and so brave. She is smiling away. You wouldn’t think she had major brain surgery a few days ago.”

It is a dream come true for Lucy, who decided to start a fund-raising appeal to take Hallie to Poland for treatment after being told it was not available through the NHS.

Family, friends, colleagues and strangers dug deep to help, making donations, taking on challenges and organising fund-raising events.

It took just two months to reach the £70,000 fund-raising target, with a race night at Haigh Hall Hotel two weeks ago pushing them over the finishing line.

Lucy said: “I want to thank everybody once more for everything they have done for us, all the donations, all the love and support they have given Hallie and our family, and for giving Hallie this opportunity.

“It means the world to us. Hallie is very grateful, she is smiling away.”