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25th Jul 2018
A child who was rushed to hospital unable to walk has become a charity fun runner following successful treatment at Alder Hey.
A little boy who was rushed to hospital unable to walk after being struck down by a rare condition ran his first 1km race less than six months after leaving hospital raising £300 for Alder Hey.
Harley Margerison, aged five, from Speke was admitted to Alder Hey in December just days before Christmas after a sore throat quickly developed into a condition, which prevented him from walking and talking.
Mum Clare Higgins said: “It started off with him being unwell, a bit like a winter cold, with a husky cough.
“We took him to the doctor who thought it was a virus, but a week later he was slurring his speech and we couldn’t understand what he was saying.
“He was walking like somebody who was really drunk and couldn’t control his legs.”
The family took him straight to A&E where he underwent brain scans, blood tests and an MRI, while medics worked through a process of elimination eventually determining Harley was suffering from Sydenham’s Chorea.
Sydenham’s Chorea only affects a small number of children in the UK each year - usually girls over five - it is extremely rare for a boy to be affected.
The condition is caused by a germ called streptococcus and often develops from a sore throat. The bacterium affects the area of the brain which controls movement, symptoms include a lack of coordination and balance causing jerking and falling.
After a course of antibiotics Harley was discharged on New Year’s Eve and was referred to the speech and language therapy and physiotherapy teams to help get him back on track.
He returned to school in January, but after a tumble in the classroom was brought back to hospital the day before his fifth birthday.
Clare said: “He had a little fall and hit his face. We were worried that he’d miss his birthday party, but luckily he was allowed back home to celebrate.”
The infection also affected Harley’s heart causing him to develop a heart murmur and mitral regurgitation, where there is a leakage of blood backwards through the mitral valve each time the left ventricle in the heart contracts.
Harley will need to take anti-biotics until he is 18 to ensure the infection doesn’t return.
But despite his ongoing treatment Harley jumped at the chance to take part in the Liverpool Spring 1k run and raise funds for the doctors that had helped him, with the support of his big brother Joseph.
Clare said: “When Harley was in hospital it affected Joseph a lot, the two of them are inseparable. He has been Harley’s cheerleader and motivator, he ran a little bit ahead of him in the race and would keep coming back to check how he was doing. Joseph is so supportive.
“I ran with Harley - I thought he’d stop, but he just kept going. It was so hot, but he just kept saying ‘I can do this mummy, I believe in myself.’”
“He was so happy when he got his medal, now he wants to do it all the time.”
She added: “Just a few months ago he couldn’t walk and now he’s running races.
“He goes to swimming club every Friday. He’s just a boisterous five-year-old little boy who’s into everything.”
Harley has already completed his second 1km race for charity and is planning on taking part in his third race in August.
Dr. Manveen Patil said: “Harley still has some weakness and gets tired easily, but in time he will make a complete recovery.
“It’s remarkable what he has achieved.”
Head of Community Fundraising Cath Harding added: “Harley is an incredible little boy. It’s an amazing achievement to have completed a 1km run such a short time after leaving hospital and we’re thrilled he chose to raise money for Alder Hey.”
Alder Hey Children's Charity