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Family told blaze toddler has brain damage.

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot

A toddler who survived a blaze that killed three members of her family has been diagnosed with brain damage.

Two-year-old Megan Yates escaped the blaze in Pelham Street, Middlesbrough, after her brave mother Gail used her own body to shield her from the flames.

Gail, 27, died along with her brother Lee, 18 and sister Joanne, 22.

But today her family were left reeling from the news that the brave youngster has been left brain damaged and likely to need constant future care.

Megan's grief-stricken grandmother Rose, 45, who with her partner Eddie Rainbow escaped the blaze on August 23, said: "All we know is she has to go for another brain scan. She has suffered brain damage but we don't know to what extent.

"It hasn't sunk in properly yet. Everything's hitting us all at once."

Her daughter Kerry, 21, a mum-of-two who it is hoped will care for Megan with her partner David Large from their Thorntree home, said she was devastated at the news from Newcastle General Hospital.

She said: "They've just told us she's severely brain-damaged. They're going to do another scan to find out how it's going to affect her.

"She will need 24-hour caring. They've told us she may never walk again. But they don't know exactly how it's going to affect her until they do another scan."

Megan's aunt Lynn Thompson, 52, of Portman Street, Middlesbrough, is organising a trust fund and an appeal night for the toddler.

She said: "Megan won't be able to do anything for herself. She'll probably be in a wheelchair.

"It's just one thing after another. Obviously we're all devastated. We just hope nothing else will go wrong."

Megan, who needed emergency skin grafts for her horrific injuries, had all her toes removed because of gangrene, she added.

"The fund is more important now because she's going to need 24-hour care, lots of things we didn't think of. She'll need a wheelchair, we'll have to adapt her house, she'll be disabled."

The appeal night is planned for November 17 from 7.30pm at the RAOB Club, Wilton Street. Emergency service representatives, passers-by who helped in the blaze, the Gazette, councillors and Mayor Ray Mallon have been invited.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 8, 2003
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