Leicestershire mother urges people to Light up a Life for Rainbows

A Leicestershire mother who says her 12-year-old daughter is a medical marvel after she was given only six months to live is urging people to support our latest appeal.

Lauryn Fleming, of Braunstone, suffers from Holoprosencephely, a complex brain malformation which is so rare that in most cases babies die before birth. Lauryn has hormonal imbalances caused by only having half a pituitary gland, which meant her optic nerves and discs didn’t develop properly.

Her condition has left Lauryn blind and unable to talk, apart from the occasional word. She is in a wheelchair and is fed through a tube. Her round the clock medication means Lauryn needs 24 hour care.

Twelve-year-old Lauryn was born by emergency C-section after her mother, Kate, had a traumatic labour. After her birth, Lauryn did not feed properly and she was shaking due to zero blood sugar levels. A brain scan revealed her condition.

Kate, who is a single parent, said: “It was devastating. She was with me for the first few hours and she was perfect. This all came as a massive shock. Lauryn was only given six months to live; she is a medical marvel. Every day we are lucky to have her with us.”

Since the age of four, Lauryn has been visiting Rainbows. Her brother Alex, who is two years younger than Lauryn, makes the most of our Sibling Support services.

Thankful not only for the care Lauryn receives, but also for the support we provide for the whole family, Kate is backing our Light up a Life appeal.

The Light up a Life appeal invites Leicestershire residents to celebrate the memory of a loved one who has sadly passed away or to acknowledge a treasured person by dedicating a light on the special Tree of Lights at the hospice. Each dedication will be acknowledged with a commemorative Christmas card and we will add the name of loved ones to its Book of Remembrance, which is on display at the hospice during the festive period. We will also send people a special Light up a Life pin badge.

Kate added: “Rainbows lights up our life in so many ways and I hope people will support this appeal. Lauryn is a happy character with a comic personality. She is very strong willed, determined and knows her own mind and she just loves going to Rainbows.

“At Rainbows Lauryn can relax and do things that she enjoys doing. Lauryn likes her own company and she gets the most out of one to one sessions rather than being in a group. She also loves spending time in the sensory room.

“I have been a single parent since Lauryn was three so it is very tough. It can be stressful but when you live every day like this, it becomes normal. Rainbows helps with that. Not only is it a place that Lauryn loves going to, it gives me time off to spend with Alex.

“Sometimes Alex finds it difficult because of the restrictions Lauryn puts on everyday life but he knows that it can’t be helped. They do have a very good relationship. With it being just the three of us, we have a very strong bond.”

Katie Baxter, events and community manager at Rainbows, said: “Christmas is a time to think about those people we love and we invite you to dedicate a light on our special Tree of Lights at the hospice that will shine brightly during the festive period for them. Your light can be to celebrate the memory of a loved one, to acknowledge a special person in your life or as a special Christmas gift.”

There is no minimum donation for a light and all money raised will go to support the work of Rainbows and children like Lauryn. For more information, visit www.rainbows.co.uk/lightupalife or contact 01509 638000.