A Lancashire youngster battling numerous health conditions is celebrating her 11th birthday and wants lots of birthday cards to open.
AASMA DAY talks to Jessica Brown’s mum Jemma to find out more about her story
Jessica Brown loves the excitement of opening mail. But sadly for the youngster, the only letters she usually receives are from the hospital telling her to come for a check-up or scan.
Jessica, 10, who lives in Chorley, has the rare genetic condition neurofibromatosis type 1, which causes tumours to grow along the nerve.
Jessica has multiple aneurysms to the renal artery of her left kidney and has cysts on her other kidney. She also suffers from high blood pressure and needs daily medication and has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Mum Jemma, who is married to Daniel and also has children Conner, 14, Alisha, nine and Eliza, five, explains: “Jessica was born with no complications and everything was fine.
“But when she was eight, she came home from school saying she had a headache and we monitored and knew something was not right and ended up calling 111. They sent an ambulance and she ended up in hospital for five days. They did an MRI scan to investigate the headaches and this showed lesions on the brain.
“They also found her blood pressure was high.
“At the end of the five days, Jessica was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1.
“Jessica has cafe au lait patches all over her body which is one of the signs of the condition. We had not really been worried about the patches as Jessica had them from birth and as she grew, there became more of them.”
Jemma says no one knew much about neurofibromatosis and then she came across the charity The Neuro Foundation which she describes as “a godsend”.
Jessica has now been under investigation for two-and-a-half years and staff at Manchester Children’s Hospital say she is a complex NF1 child.
Jessica has to go for regular MRI scans of her whole body and that’s when the aneurysms and cysts on her kidneys were found.
Jemma says: “Some days Jessica can have an amazing day and be fine. But other days, it is like she has arthritis and she can barely move and is in a lot of pain.
“Jessica is on three daily medications for her high blood pressure and she is also on medication for her ADHD to keep her calm. She is also on medication to help her sleep.”
Jessica goes to mainstream school at Highfield Primary School in Chorley.
Jemma says: “This year has been wonderful but the last two years were very difficult because of Jessica’s behaviour but the medication has really helped.”
Jessica will turn 11 on December 20 and when her parents asked her what she wanted, she said she just wanted lots of birthday cards.
Jemma adds: “Jessica didn’t want a party as she does not really have any friends because of her behaviour and how she has been. It is only this year that she has managed to maintain a couple of close friends.
“Jessica chose not to have a birthday party because of the fear of no one turning up.
“Jessica says she just wants lots of birthday cards as she loves opening mail.
“But normally, she just gets hospital letters.
“Jessica has made her own red postbox and she has already started receiving birthday cards and been popping them in there ready to open on her birthday.
“Her dream is to have lots of cards to open on her birthday.”
• If you would like to send Jessica a birthday card, post it to: 133 Brook Street, Chorley, PR6 0NG