South Yorkshire birthday girl celebrates pioneering treatment

Road to recovery: Amy Kennedy with her mum Zoe Matters at home, where she has been bed-bound for three years.'                                                   Picture: StEVE TAYLOR.
Road to recovery: Amy Kennedy with her mum Zoe Matters at home, where she has been bed-bound for three years.' Picture: StEVE TAYLOR.
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A DELIGHTED South Yorkshire girl has been out with her pals for the first time in three years as she begins the long road to recovery from a rare illness.

Amy Kennedy, of Doncaster, has been bed-bound since she was struck with a condition called complex regional pain syndrome.

But after undergoing pioneering medical treatment in America, Amy has now improved enough to enjoy her first evening out to a restaurant with friends, and spent two hours at the weekend in a town centre restaurant on High Street, to celebrate her 15th birthday, which is today.

And the following day she made her first visit to a friend’s house for three years, staying overnight.

She has been back in England for two months after a three-week course of treatment and still suffers pain through her condition – but it has been reduced to the point she is finally able to get out of bed and move about her home on Adlard Road in a wheelchair.

Amy said: “It is something most of my friends do all the time – but going out for the first time in three years meant the world to me. It feels as though my treatment has changed my life. After three years of being bed-bound, I have now had the best weekend ever.

“Now I would love to go to the cinema to see a film, which a few years ago I never thought I would do again.”

The syndrome, which affects 11,500 people in the UK, left Amy with a chronic burning pain in her limbs, unable to take any pressure on her legs.

The disorder is so rare the specialist treatment she has undergone is available only in America.

Her treatment in the US involved the application of an electrical current to pads placed on her body.

She has continued with the treatment with a machine she has brought back from America.

Her mum, Zoe Matters, said she had finally been able to get out with pals for a meal at a restaurant.

“It is going really, really well. She can now touch the top of her leg, which she could not before the treatment started because it was too painful.

“She can now get into a wheelchair and we can take her into other rooms. She is still in pain, but it is tolerable for her now. She can get out of bed and do a couple of hours in a wheelchair.

“We managed to find a taxi that can take wheelchairs, so that we could take her out to see her friends.”

“It is the first time she has been out socially for three years. She has only been out for hospital visits over that time.

“She was looking out of the window at the Christmas lights in wonder - she has not seen anything but her bedroom wall for three years before this.”

“The machine she has brought back is working wonders.”

Amy had her evening out with eight pals, plus her mum and grandmother.

Earlier the same day, she met injured Doncaster paratrooper Ben Parkinson, who told her about his battle to walk again after his was wounded. Zoe hopes Ben’s story will be an inspiration to her.

The family are now hoping to get their home modified so they can use a wider wheelchair with larger wheels, which would allow Amy to move it herself by pushing the wheels with her hands.

They have been in touch with Doncaster Council over the work, but have been told there is a waiting list.

Her doctor in America has told her she may be able to walk on crutches in three years’ time.

The family raised more than £50,000 from a series of community events to give Amy the chance of specialist treatment.

She first complained of knee pain at around the age of seven but was not diagnosed despite MRI scans and numerous X-rays. Her condition got gradually worse after she fell awkwardly during a dance class.