Charlotte hopes for first Christmas at home

FIVE-year-old Charlotte Daniel has spent every Christmas Day of her short life asleep on a hospital ward.

She doesn't know who Father Christmas is after spending every festive season at hospitals in Leeds and Wakefield being treated for an extremely rare life-threatening illness.

But her family from Outwood, Wakefield, are hoping this year could be different for Charlotte, who suffers from incurable Shwachman Diamond Syndrome.

In a billion-to-one chance, Charlotte and her cousin Kimberley Boughen-Parkin, four, of Stanley, were the first pair of cousins in the UK to suffer from the illness which weakens immune systems.

There are only 30 sufferers in the country of the illness, which is caused when both parents have a defective Chromosome Seven.

Earlier this month Charlotte, who lives with mum Joanne and dad Glyn, underwent surgery at St James's Hospital, Leeds, to remove her teeth because the illness makes her saliva so acidic they have rotted away.

Joanne, a Leeds City Council worker, said: "She is bright and breezy, loving life.

"Hopefully, fingers crossed, she will be able to have her first Christmas at home.

"For previous Christmases she has either been at Pinderfields or Leeds General Infirmary and has never been awake on Christmas Day."

Martin Fisher

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