Miracle Yorkshire nine-year-old rushed to hospital on Christmas Day defies odds after beating ultra-rare condition in just seven days

Gabriel Chapman
Gabriel Chapman
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A miracle nine-year-old who was told he may have to use a wheelchair defied the odds to walk again - just SEVEN DAYS later.

Brave youngster Gabriel Chapman was rushed to Sheffield Children's Hospital on Christmas Day after collapsing at an A&E in his hometown of Barnsley in the early hours of the morning.

L-R Mark Chapman, Gabriel Chapman, Jayne Chapman and Jacob Chapman

L-R Mark Chapman, Gabriel Chapman, Jayne Chapman and Jacob Chapman

He spent five hours in MRI and CT scans, as well as needing a lumbar puncture as the staff worked throughout Christmas Day to find the cause.

Mum Jayne, 49, said: “I couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over, it was the longest time of our lives.

"The nurses kept talking to us and putting us at ease. All sorts of things were going through my mind, but they were absolutely wonderful.

“Later that day, they came back and told us it was possible he could need a wheelchair, but his brain is okay.

Gabriel Chapman in hospital

Gabriel Chapman in hospital

"I just looked at my husband and said: “at least we’ll get to take our little boy home again.”

Four days later, clinicians at the hospital diagnosed a rare condition known as Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM).

ADEM is a brief but intense attack of inflammation in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

It is thought to affect between 1 in every 125,000 to 250,000 people a year.

Later that night, Gabriel was able to lift his toe while a consultant was checking him over.

This gave the family hope that he would walk again, but they were advised his recovery could take as long as 18 months.

However, Gabriel miraculously surpassed those expectations.

Thanks to the care he received at the hospital, within a week he was walking again and was able to go home after just 23 days at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Jayne added: "“His brother Jacob was very supportive too and they’d do all their exercises together.

"He promised to never fall out with him again while he was in hospital, but I think they made it a couple of hours at home before they were arguing again!”

Last month, Gabriel ran four laps around Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre to raise money for the neurosciences ward.

He is now back in school full-time and is due to run the relay race in the school sports day this summer.

Jayne said: “The doctors and physio are astounded by the progress he has made.

"He’s back at gymnastics, he’s back playing football, he’s a little miracle.”

To say thank you, the family of four took on Theo’s Obstacle 5K last weekend (July 13th) at Hesley Wood Scout Camp.

575 participants took part, with fundraising expected to total more than £30,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

All the proceeds will go towards The Children’s Hospital Charity’s £4.5m appeal to transform the Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The department was built to see 32,000 children every year but now sees more than 60,000 patients every 12 months, from across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

To find out how you can support the appeal, visit www.tchc.org.uk/donate