Quadruple amputee receives look-alike doll for her birthday
Meningitis is a relatively rare but lethal infection that affects the delicate membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
Harmonie-Rose Ivy Allen may only be two-years-old, but in her short life, she had already experienced so much.
At 11-months-old, the infant from Bath, England had contracted a severe case of meningitis.
Her parents noticed that she hadn’t been breathing properly, so they rushed her to the hospital where doctors diagnosed her with a strain of meningitis that developed into meningococcal septicaemia.
The condition necessitated the amputation of both her arms, legs, as well as the tip of her nose.
Her condition was so severe that doctors weren’t optimistic she would survive. Even if she did, they said, she’d suffer significant developmental issues.
The tot, however, defied odds.
Although she had struggled with certain health issues like a recent bowel issue, Harmonie hasn’t shown signs of brain damage.
“She is bubbly, smart and completely amazing,” her mom Freya Hall told TODAY. “She is so loving and caring, but at the same time she has a feisty side. It fits her perfectly!”
Because of how strong their daughter have been, Freya and her husband Toss decided to give Harmonie a special present for her birthday, despite it being months away.
So they worked with New York-based company A Step Ahead Prosthetics to create a customized American Girl doll.
And it seems having the doll that looks like her has had a significant impact on the toddler’s life.
“Her eyes lit up,” Freya said. “She said, ‘Mommy, she’s like me!’ She was so happy.”
“Although we don’t teach children that they are different, they learn this themselves because children ask so many questions,” she added. “To see a doll that’s just the same shows the child that they are not alone and that it is fine to be different.”
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is a relatively rare infection that affects the delicate membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. There are three types of meningitis.
Bacterial is deadly and contagious among people in close contact. Viral is less severe and most people recover completely without specific therapy. Fungal is rare and generally occurs only in people with weakened immune systems.
Although just about anyone can get meningitis, studies suggest that these three groups of people are most at risk: children under age 5, teenagers and young adults age 16-25, and adults over age 55.
Because symptoms are often common (fever, cold hands and feet, vomiting, drowsiness and difficulty waking up, confusion and irritability, severe muscle pain, rashes), you might mistake it for another illness.
The treatment of meningitis also depends on the type that you have, so it’s best that you consult your doctor to be sure.