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Bright future for swine flu victim Gregor; Kind fundraisers rally round to help out family.

Byline: Neil Atkinson Head of News

HE was left disabled after contracting swine flu as a baby. But now Gregor Monro faces a bright future thanks to a fundraising campaign.

Well-wishers and a charity have combined to pay for a special computer that will give the six-year-old Upperthong youngster a great deal of independence.

The Eye Gaze system means that Gregor, who has been brain-damaged since he was 16 months old, will be able to communicate with mum Mary, twin brother Henry and eight-year-old sister Milly.

"It will mean he can tell us what choice he wants to make, rather than us deciding things for him", said Mary.

Gregor, who has tested using the computer system at Castle Hill School in Newsome, will control the equipment with eye movements and has proved very adept at getting things done.

At school he manages to complete the class register by ticking off photos on the screen and is able to work on some of his lessons.

The Rotary Club of Holmfirth donated PS3,000 to go towards the PS11,000 plus cost of the specialist equipment. The funding campaign was arranged by The Sequal Trust which helps families. It now means the equipment should be available to be installed at home for him in the next two months.

Club president Malcolm Styring said "Our hearts went out to the Monro family.

"We are pleased to be able to make this donation in the hope that it will make Gregor's life a little bit easier and thanks are due to the generosity of people in the Holme Valley."

Mrs Monro said both Gregor and Henry were born perfectly healthy but contracted the swine flu as it swept the country in 2009. Both were treated with the Tamiflu vaccine, as was their sister, but within hours Gregor was in a critical condition.

"Henry looked to have the symptoms but was over it in a few hours but Gregor was different.

"Within 24 hours he was in hospital in the intensive care unit and he spent 36 days in there.

"He then spent many more weeks in hospital and they told us he was brain damaged as a result of swine flu.

"Toddlers and pregnant women were the two groups most at risk but in a flash, Gregor went from being a very healthy baby to someone who will be brain damaged for life.

"The doctors did not know what effects it would mean, as he could have been left blind, or deaf, or unable to speak.

"As it is he cannot speak but he can see perfectly well and he can hear.

"Whenever one of us chats to him, we knows he can understand. He shows moods and emotions and I am sure the Eye Gaze equipment will help bring more of his character and his independence out.

"No-one knows what his potential could be. It is not a degenerative condition but one for which there is no prognosis.

"My husband Chris died a couple of years ago and he was Gregor's full-time carer.

"I want this new start to build on the legacy that Chris left for Gregor."

Swine flu facts The new strain of flu was |named Swine Flu The 2009 pandemic began | in Mexico and spread rapidly It reached the UK in April |and within a week there were 110,000 patients In all the pandemic claimed | 474 lives Swine flu has many flu-like | symptoms: headache, a fever, aching limbs and a runny nose It is treated with antiviral |products such as Tamiflu or antibiotics


040615BGREG ANDY CATCHPOOL Gregor Monro of Burnlee, Holmfirth, |with his sister Milly, brother Henry (right) and mum, Mary. Inset: Gregor before his illness
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 10, 2015
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