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Lowestoft parents tell of brave daughter Poppy's struggle with cavernomas

PUBLISHED: 11:55 01 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:55 01 December 2017

Poppy Overy,7, has overcome multiple cavernomas and is now a member of the Cavernoma Alliance.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Poppy Overy,7, has overcome multiple cavernomas and is now a member of the Cavernoma Alliance. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

To have a happy and healthy baby is a perfectly reasonable expectation for any new parents.

Poppy Overy,7, has overcome multiple cavernomas and is now a member of the Cavernoma Alliance.
Poppy with her parents Hayley and Dave and brother Ted.
Picture: Nick ButcherPoppy Overy,7, has overcome multiple cavernomas and is now a member of the Cavernoma Alliance. Poppy with her parents Hayley and Dave and brother Ted. Picture: Nick Butcher

But when Poppy Overy started having absence seizures at just 14 months old, Hayley and Dave Overy knew that something was obviously wrong.

Having taken Poppy to A&E on numerous occasions, the worried Lowestoft couple were initially told that their daughter was suffering with a cold and they had nothing to worry about.

It wasn’t until a subsequent hospital visit, where doctors witnessed a seizure first-hand and Poppy fell unconscious, that concerns began to grow.

“To see doctors and nurses crowding round your baby is very scary,” said Mrs Overy.

Poppy Overy,7, has overcome multiple cavernomas and is now a member of the Cavernoma Alliance.
Picture: Nick ButcherPoppy Overy,7, has overcome multiple cavernomas and is now a member of the Cavernoma Alliance. Picture: Nick Butcher

“Poppy was sent for a CT scan and we were told she had a bleed on the brain which was absolutely petrifying.

“She then went for an MRI scan and was diagnosed with cavernomas. When the doctor came and spoke to us he could have been speaking in a different language; it was all very confusing.”

Poppy was admitted to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston for four nights and Addenbrooke’s for one, and it was at the Cambridge hospital that Mr and Mrs Overy found out more about this unfamiliar condition.

Cavernomas are growths in the brain or spine made up of abnormal blood vessels that can cause seizures, strokes, or disability when they bleed. There is sometimes a genetic cause and it was found that the gene had come from her mother Hayley.

Once Poppy was finally allowed home, the family became members of the Cavernoma Alliance UK (CAUK), a charity set up specifically to provide information and support for those affected.

Now seven-years-old and seizure-free for the last two years, Poppy has been signed off by the Paget and often enjoys days out organised by CAUK, which allow children and their families to meet new people and share similar experiences.

“The people we’ve met are families just like us and a lot of the other children are worse off than Poppy was,” said Mrs Overy.

Mr Overy added: “Raising money for the Cavernoma Alliance helps to fund activities and increase awareness.

“I did the London Marathon in 2016 and I’ve just signed up to do the Ride Across Britain.”

To find out more about cavernomas, visit cavernoma.org.uk.

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