Shildon teenager to return home after suffering life threatening illness

SURROUNDED BY FAMILY: Chelsea Rowley, with brother Daniel, father Alan and mother Julie

SURROUNDED BY FAMILY: Chelsea Rowley, with brother Daniel, father Alan and mother Julie

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Shildon and Spennymoor)

A TEENAGER who spent 14-months in hospital fighting off a life threatening illness is set to return to her family home this year.

Chelsea Rowley, 16, was struck down by vasculitis of the central nervous system - swollen blood vessels in the brain - in March 2011.

She was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, but was so seriously ill that she spent most of the time in a coma.

Chelsea left hospital in May last year but she was unable to return to the family home on Jubilee Road, Shildon, County Durham, as it was not big enough to hold the necessary medical equipment.

Instead she became a pupil at The Northern Counties School, Newcastle, which provides day and residential special education for children with complex needs.

Her parents Alan and Julie, and her 14-year-old brother Daniel, travel up daily to see her.

A larger house for the family has now become available on Cedar Grove, Shildon. Work has been carried out to make it suitable, and the teenager is looking to move home early this year.

Mrs Rowley said: “The illness came from no-where.

“She got up one morning and she was vomiting. Within two hours she was rushed to hospital as she was seriously ill.

“She was in a coma for most of the time so she didn’t know what was going on. 

“She was discharged as the hospital didn’t feel it could do anything else but she couldn’t come home as our house was not suitable."

Mrs Rowley added: "We’re definitely looking forward to having her home.

“We all know it will take time but it means that we can start to get back to normal. It’s great to be back as a family.”

Chelsea will suffer from the illness for the rest of her life and will continue to attend the school in Newcastle.

Members of the community have rallied round to help with several fundraising activities to cover the family’s costs.

Mrs Rowley said: “A lot of fundraising has been done for Chelsea. We’re just glad she is coming home.”

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