Family fight for tests to beat deadly

THE FAMILY of a girl who was born with a life-threatening infection are hoping to raise awareness of the condition.

Rhiannon Earl fought for her life when she was born with Group B Streptococcus and her family were told to prepare for the worst.

Fortunately the 12-year-old made a full recovery but many other cases do not always have the same outcome and the infection can lead to lung damage, loss of sight and hearing and even death.

Rhiannon's father Dave said, "She was born full term and was seriously ill. We were lucky that the consultant recognised that it could be Group B Strep and she was taken over to the Trevor Mann Unit at the Royal Sussex Hospital and we were told to prepare for her not to get through the weekend.

"Luckily, we were later able to take her home and she made a full recovery from Group B Strep.

"It can leave babies severely disabled but tests proved the infection had not gone to the brain."

Dave and his wife Clare are members of the Group B Strep Support and have backed petitions calling for women to be offered the chance to be tested for Group B Strep.

Dave, who has taken part in sponsored walks to raise money for Group B Strep Support, said, "The idea of the charity is to promote awareness and support families that are going through what we went through."

Rhiannon, who is a member of the Seaford Gymnastics Academy, also inherited neurofibromatosis, which is unrelated to Group B Strep.

This has caused a disfigurement in her left eye and Rhiannon is in the middle of having operations to balance her features.

Despite everything she has been through her parents say she doesn't let it faze her and was described by her parents as a 'brave young lady'.

Rhiannon has been nominated for this year's Seaford Young Personality of the Year Awards and was previously put forward for the Brian Smith Achievement Award.

For more information please visit www.gbss.org.uk