Real Life

Where are they now: against the odds

From health battles to missing persons, we update our biggest real-life stories of the year

After spending a year critically ill in hospital, courageous Kate Chandulal was not expected to live long, let alone return to school.
But even though doctors said there was no hope for Kate, born with a rare genetic condition called Crouzon Syndrome, her mum Bridget was determined to see the little girl recover.
The disorder causes bones of the face and skull to fuse early, and Kate (7), was in Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital, fighting for her life. She had contracted a deadly brain infection when Bridget (49)spoke to the Weekly in June about the battle for her daughter's life.
Kate, who has now had more than 100 surgeries, had fluid in her brain and doctors refused to remove it, meaning a death sentence for the youngster.
"oummy, I don't want to die," Kate had whispered, and it was that which inspired Bridget, who also has Crouzon disease, to take action. Bridget scoured the telephone book and found a lawyer who would make doctors treat her daughter.
Her determination paid off and doctors did the drainage procedure, leading to Kate's recovery. After nearly a year at Starship hospital, Kate was finally well enough to go home in July, and has recently started school.
"She loves being back in her classroom," says Bridget. "Kate's got this amazing charisma and people instantly love her. There have been several times when I've been told she's not going to make it, but she has always proved those people and expectations wrong."

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