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Northern Ireland mum's pride as little girl born with spina bifida shows her support for NHS heroes

A young Newtownabbey girl who has had seven brain surgeries in six months has been bravely showing her appreciation to NHS workers.

Kaidence Tate (5) was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, a condition that causes a build-up of pressure inside the skull.

Her recent surgeries mean she is unable to leave home during lockdown except for hospital appointments.

Although she uses a wheelchair, Kaidence is building her upper body strength and paying tribute to NHS workers by pushing herself to the top of a slide in her garden every day.

After spending months at Kaidence's bedside in hospital, her mother Paula (31) spoke of her pride in her daughter and how coronavirus has impacted family life.

"I'm just so proud of Kaidence, using her upper body strength like that to show her support for the NHS. For her to be able to do that is such a big deal for us.

"And I just want the NHS workers to know she's doing that for them and is really trying."

During her recovery Kaidence has been prone to seizures and could often go unconscious for over an hour.

"It was quite scary and we didn't really know if she would pull through this time with everything that's been going on," her mum said.

"It's been a lot of pressure and stress on her body, because she's like a wee fairy.

"She was operated on three parts of her head, so it was a lot for her to take."


Kaidence Tate at home in Newtownabbey

Kaidence Tate at home in Newtownabbey

Kaidence Tate at home in Newtownabbey

At hospital appointments Kaidence now has to wear a mask for extra protection against Covid-19.

"It's quite scary for her but everybody was so lovely and talked her through it. They made it fun by showing her a little bear wearing the mask and it really made her feel at ease," Paula said.

After five months of being in hospital almost non-stop, the family have now had to explain why Kaidence can't leave the house.

"That's been difficult, and Kaidence can't really understand why McDonald's is closed and she can't go to the movies," Paula said.

"You get used to being in a noisy ward and not having your own space. All I did in hospital was pray to be at home with my husband Barrie (39) and children Madison (15), Shaye (2) and eight-month-old Archer.

"Now I'm praying for the doors to open and to let us all go outside - there's been no happy medium.

"A lot of other people, like my parents, who love her and know what she's been through can't see her, which has been hard."

On explaining coronavirus, she said: "We just told Kaidence that things are different at the moment and there's a risk of her becoming sick, so we just need to spend time indoors together as a family.

"One great thing is that before my husband and I were like passing ships with all the hospital appointments and work.

"It's been nice having old-fashioned values, cooking every night and sitting together."

Belfast Telegraph