‘Thank you for helping my Jess’

Jessica and Ann O'Rourke
Jessica and Ann O'Rourke

BRAVE Jessica O’Rourke spent much of her early life in and out of hospital with a series of mystery illnesses.

Now, thanks to consultants at Great Ormond Street Hospital who correctly diagnosed her as suffering from Ketotic Hypoglycemia, the five year-old is leading a normal life, and mum Ann wants to say ‘thank you’ with a special fundraising event.

Ann explains: “Right from birth we knew that something was wrong with Jess.

“She would never feed and she would never wake up.

“As she got older she was in hospital all the time, about once every couple of months, her immune system was low so she kept on picking up infections but we always thought it was something more than that.”

A concerned Ann took Jess to see a specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and within five minutes the youngster was diagnosed with ketotic hyphoglycemia.

The condition, relating to low blood sugar, causes sickness, lethargy and in extreme cases can lead to a coma resulting in permanent brain damage.

Jess underwent an operation to be fitted with a special ‘button’ in her stomach which allows her to be fed fluids through a tube during the night.

This prevents Jess from experiencing the sickness and illness that has plagued her early years.

A grateful Ann is now holding a fundraising Pampered Chef party to raise funds for Great Ormond Street and Pocklington Infant school which has supported her daughter so well.

Ann said: “Although we were concerned with the diagnosis, it was actually more of a relief than anything else because at least then we knew what was wrong with Jess and that there were ways of dealing with it.

“The consultants hope that it is something Jess will grow out of and she is now so much better.

“People used to say that she looked poorly, and she did, she was so small and looked almost transparent.

“She is small for her size, but she will catch up and has come on in leaps and bounds.

“If it wasn’t for the consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital she might still be poorly all the time.”

Jess still has to see a local consultant and travels down to Great Ormond Street once a year for check-ups, but since her operation her health is much improved.

“I’ve always wanted to do something to say thank you to Great Ormond Street and to Pocklington Infant School,” said Ann, who lives on Browing Road, Pocklington. “Staff at the school have had to be specially trained to deal with Jess’ condition and they have all been absolutely brilliant.

“Recently Jess went on a school trip and the headteacher texted me three times just to let me know that Jess was fine and doing well - I never expected that and it really showed me how much the school cares.”

Ann, who is a consultant for kitchen equipment company Pampered Chef, is now hosting a special Pampered Chef party at Pocklington Infant School at 7pm on January 27.

She will donate all her commission to Great Ormond Street and the Friends of Pocklington Infant School, while Pampered Chef will donate up to 20 per cent of their proceeds.

Local businesses, and even the Berkley Hotel in London, are showing their support by donating dozens of prizes for a fundraising raffle to be held on the night.

Entry to the Pampered Chef party is by ticket only, which costs £5 on the door or £4 in advance, available from Pocklington Infant School or from Ann on 01759 303659 or 07515478506.