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Emily, four, starts school after hospital ordeal

Published 06/09/2016

Four year old Emily Norris, from Norwich, at Costessey Infants school as she starts school school for the first time this week despite suffering ill health and having 70 per cent of her lung removed
Four year old Emily Norris, from Norwich, at Costessey Infants school as she starts school school for the first time this week despite suffering ill health and having 70 per cent of her lung removed

A four-year-old girl who had 70% of her lung and a kidney removed due to a rare condition has started her first day at school.

Little Emily Norris, of Bowthorpe, Norwich, was born with a malformation of the lung, which was first detected when her mother, Nicol Pybus, went for her 20-week scan.

Doctors warned 28-year-old Miss Pybus that her daughter may not be able to breathe and advised her to consider a termination, but she said that was never an option.

Emily defied the odds and was born without complications, but was taken to hospital aged four months after she picked up a chest infection.

Her right lung was made up of cysts due to a condition called congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation, and she had 70% of her lung removed before her first birthday.

Doctors then discovered she also had a multicystic dysplastic kidney - which was rare to see combined with Emily's other condition.

The diseased kidney was removed when she was three-years old, and she has undergone four operations in total.

Her mother said Emily's determination and confidence stunned her, and she was nervous but excited to wave her off at the gates at Costessey Infant School.

"Emily is doing really well," she said. "Although she still struggles to grow at the same rate as other children and has her feeding tube, she can't wait to start school and has been asking constantly through the summer holidays if she can go to school yet.

"She has never let her medical issues stop her and just sees herself as a normal four-year-old."

She continued: "I'm nervous like any mum whose child is starting school for the first time but also anxious as she still has unresolved issues with her health and can't eat normally like her classmates.

"She has come a long way since her operations and stuns me with her determination and confidence."

Emily will be following in the footsteps of her big brothers Jake, nine, and five-year-old Dominic, who is also a pupil at Costessey Infants.

During Emily's treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, Miss Pybus was supported by charity The Sick Children's Trust, which provides free accommodation for families of seriously ill children who are in hospital.

Miss Pybus was supported by the charity's Guilford Street House, which is close to the hospital, for 10 days while Emily was undergoing treatment.

It meant she could be with her daughter throughout, and did not have to make a four-hour round-trip daily.

"I have no idea what I would have done had it not been for The Sick Children's Trust," said Miss Pybus.

"Because Emily was so poorly and being treated first on the intensive care unit and then on the high dependency unit, I couldn't even sleep in a chair beside her."

Every year The Sick Children's Trust supports around 4,000 families with seriously ill children, and it costs around £30 to support a family for a night in one of the charity's 10 Homes from Home.

Guilford Street House manager Tina Thake said: "Nicol has kept us up to date on Emily's progress over the years and we have got to know her very well - she's a little star."

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