Girl, 8, almost killed by chickenpox

Lesley Swift with her daughter Lauren Smith, eight, from St Helens, Lauren was left fighting for her life when chicken pox was a rare form of listeria meningitis and hydrocephalus, her mum, Lesley Swift, has set up a Facebook campaign called Lauren's Journey, to help raise funds for Alder Hey Children's Hospital.
Lesley Swift with her daughter Lauren Smith, eight, from St Helens, Lauren was left fighting for her life when chicken pox was a rare form of listeria meningitis and hydrocephalus, her mum, Lesley Swift, has set up a Facebook campaign called Lauren's Journey, to help raise funds for Alder Hey Children's Hospital.
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A St Helens mum has launched an awareness campaign after her daughter almost died when she contracted a rare condition sparked by chicken pox.

Brave Lauren Smith suffered months of excruciating pain and surgery after she was left fighting for her life when the childhood illness developed into a rare form of listeria, meningitis and hydrocephalus.

Lauren Smith, eight, from St Helens, Lauren was left fighting for her life when chicken pox was a rare form of listeria meningitis and hydrocephalus, her mum, Lesley Swift, has set up a Facebook campaign called Lauren's Journey, to help raise funds for Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Lauren Smith, eight, from St Helens, Lauren was left fighting for her life when chicken pox was a rare form of listeria meningitis and hydrocephalus, her mum, Lesley Swift, has set up a Facebook campaign called Lauren's Journey, to help raise funds for Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Not only this, but as a result of the diagnosis, the eight-year-old has been left deaf in her right ear - all brought on by a bout of chicken pox.

Doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool were initially doubtful Lauren would survive the devastating affects of the condition as she spent four weeks in a coma and a further month and a half under the watchful eye of medical experts.

But almost a year down the line, and countless treatments later and she is finally on the road to recovery.

Now mum Lesley Green Swift has started an online crusade called Lauren’s Journey in a bid to raise awareness of just how chicken pox can become potentially fatal.

Describing the “nightmare” ordeal, she said: “Lauren was a healthy little girl that went to school as normal and came home with chicken pox.

“Day six of the chicken pox and Lauren started to feel unwell mainly headaches and high temperature,

“Saturday came and Lauren was still unwell, Sunday Lauren slept more, Monday came and Lauren just wasn’t herself, she wasn’t with us.

“I phoned for an ambulance and we went to hospital for a CT scan which was fine. But then on the Monday night Lauren’s heart kept stopping and the nurses had to get her going again.

“Tuesday Lauren spoke to us, laughing, our nightmare began by 2pm Lauren was put in an induced coma, ventilated there were tubes and wirers everywhere.

“Lauren began to fight for life and she was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital she went straight into theatre for an emergency brain operation to release fluid off her brain then.

“It was then when doctors confirmed that it was meningitis and so the next day she was taken back to theatre.

“Lauren now had two Evd’s in her head, we were then told Lauren had listeria which is very rare for someone of Lauren’s age her life was now touch and go.

“Lauren then developed hydrocephalus because of the meningitis, and she has now got a vp shunt (a surgical procedure that is primarily used to treat a condition called hydrocephalus) fitted.

“Five and a half months, and six brain operations later Lauren was finally discharged. Lauren is now deaf in her right ear from the meningitis. But we’re just so relieved that she is now on the mend and is slowly getting her life back.”

Lesley is also hoping to raise as much money as possible to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

For more information and details on how to donate visit Lauren’s Journey personal blog on Facebook.