A MOTHER whose daughter had life-saving treatment says she has been lucky, thanks to a charity.

Gemma Nelson, 28, and her husband, Jamie, 29, were elated when their first child, Pollyanna, was born in March 2016.

However, at 12-weeks-old, Pollyanna began to suffer from severe constipation.

Gemma rang 111 took her baby to Colchester General Hospital.

Doctors noticed she was breathing erratically and sent her for a chest X-ray, which revealed she had congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Her diaphragm had failed to form correctly and had allowed her bowels and intestines to move into her chest cavity. Within just a few hours she was sent for life-saving surgery.

Gemma said: “When the doctors discovered what was wrong with Pollyanna they acted fast and were immediately on the phone to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

“She was put in an incubator and as her condition deteriorated she was rushed to Cambridge.

“We were absolutely beside ourselves. Travelling from Colchester to Cambridge is a long, busy journey and we were petrified something would happen on the way.”

The couple were told they would be staying at The Sick Children’s Trust’s Acorn House, just minutes from Pollyanna’s hospital bedside.

Gemma said: “The support we had was outstanding. Acorn House was not just a room, it was truly a home from home.

“Jamie and I were able to look after ourselves and take time out so we could be stronger for our daughter.”

They spent a week at Acorn House while Pollyanna underwent surgery and recovered. The doctors were able to move her intestine back into her abdomen and repair the hole in her diaphragm.


Gemma said: “Acorn House was a lifeline for us. Pollyanna will be two at the end of March and she got the all clear almost a year ago. She wasn’t quite old enough to get excited about Christmas, but we spoilt her and bought her lots of presents.

“My little angel is now fighting fit, with no underlying problems and her heart and lungs are all healthy.”

She is running the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon on April 8 to raise money and awareness for the charity.

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gemma-nelson3.