This is the brave little girl who is ʙᴀᴛᴛʟɪɴɢ through a ᴍᴀssɪᴠᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ. Matilda Callaghan has a ʀᴀʀᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ which covers all her ғᴀᴄᴇ and the right side of her ʙᴏᴅʏ. But brave Matilda, two, doesn’t let the regular ʟᴀsᴇʀ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs ᴅᴀᴍᴘᴇɴ her ғɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ spirit.
The couple Paul, 45 and Rebecca, 41from Leigh, Lancashire had no idea there was anything wrong with Matilda before she was born in October 2010, weighing a healthy 5Ib 5ozs. Callaghan’s ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ ʜᴀᴅɴ’ᴛbeen easy as there was too much ғʟᴜɪᴅ in her ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ sᴀᴄ, and the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs decided to deliver the baby ᴇᴀʀʟʏ. When she was born she had a ᴅᴀʀᴋ ᴘᴜʀᴘʟᴇ ᴍᴀʀᴋ ᴅᴏᴡɴ the side of her ғᴀᴄᴇ, which initially ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs thought was a ʙʀᴜɪsᴇ. But then half an hour later, they ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ the ᴅᴇᴠᴀsᴛᴀᴛɪɴɢ news to the couple that it was a ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ. Two weeks later she was ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsᴇᴅ with a ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ called Sᴛᴜʀɢᴇ Wᴇʙᴇʀ Sʏɴᴅʀᴏᴍᴇ, a ʀᴀʀᴇ ɴᴇᴜʀᴏʟᴏɢɪᴄᴀʟ and sᴋɪɴ ᴅɪsᴏʀᴅᴇʀ. It ᴄᴀᴜsᴇs learning ᴅɪғғɪᴄᴜʟᴛɪᴇs, ᴘᴀʀᴀʟʏsɪs ᴀɴᴅ sᴇɪᴢᴜʀᴇs. Because she was sᴏ ɪʟʟ, Matilda was ʀᴜsʜᴇᴅfrom Wigan Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ to Alder Hey Children’s Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ in Liverpool.
Paul said: ” We couldn’t travel with her as she was sᴏ ɪʟʟ. As we stood watching her being ᴛᴀᴋᴇɴ ᴀᴡᴀʏ, we didn’t know if we were going to see her again. We’d been so excited at our baby’s arrival, now within a matter of hours we didn’t know whether we would even see her ᴀʟɪᴠᴇ again.” But even from a day old, Matilda was a force to be reckoned with. She had also been born with ᴛᴡᴏ ʜᴏʟᴇs in her ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ, which was even more difficult for her sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ. She managed to sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ her first sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ, and when she was two months old she went to the ᴏᴘᴇʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ theatre again for sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ to ʀᴇᴘᴀɪʀ the ᴛᴡᴏ ʜᴏʟᴇs in her ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ. Paul said: ” We were ᴛᴇʀʀɪғɪᴇᴅ when she was ᴡʜᴇᴇʟᴇᴅ ᴅᴏᴡɴ for the sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ – even though she was two months old – she still looked sᴏ sᴍᴀʟʟ to be having such ᴍᴀᴊᴏʀ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ. Eventually the sᴜʀɢᴇᴏɴ came up to see us and told us the sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ had been successful. Matilda is absolutely amazing. Despite everything she has been through, she is still happy and she has a smile for everyone. She’s doing fantastically well.”
The ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs have said take Matilda’s ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ may take 16 years of ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴt for it to fade. She has recently started ʟᴀsᴇʀ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴt to sᴛᴏᴘ it ᴄᴀʀʀʏɪɴɢ on growing as she gets ᴏʟᴅᴇʀ. Paul added:” Matilda has had more than 30 ᴏᴘᴇʀᴀᴛɪᴏɴs and is so brave. She is our little miracle. We wanted the best for her and to make her life easier. We never thought she would make it when she was first born so we have come a long way. The changes we have made to the house – especially the lift which has made a massive difference as she is getting heavier now – have all hopefully made Matilda’s life more comfortable.”