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Byline: Charlotte Ward

LITTLE Jasmine Page is only four but for the past six months she has been battling a rare disease that could cause a heart attack at any time.

Jasmine, from Halesowen, first fell ill in April with a sore throat. A couple of days later the little girl developed a raised rash on her hands, knees and stomach and was suffering from crippling stomach cramps.

Jasmine's conditions continued to deteriorate and tests at Birmingham Children's Hospital revealed that she had a severe form of Kawasaki Disease - named after the Japanese medic who discovered it in the 1960s. Sadly, the prognosis was not good. Doctors told 35-year-old mum Saundra and her 38-year-old husband Andy, an IT manager, that a heart scan had revealed several aneurysms - areas of widening in Jasmine's coronary artery.

Most Kawasaki children recover completely in one to two weeks but Jasmine was one of 20 per cent whose blood supply to the heart is affected. Doctors warned her worried family that there was a chance blood clots could form within Jasmine's coronary artery, resulting in a heart attack.

The only solution was for the little girl to take six different drugs several times a day including steroids and blood thinning drugs.

Jasmine has now been allowed home after steroids successfully brought down swelling that was affecting her whole body, but her parents have been left on tenterhooks as it is only a temporary treatment.

'It is a case of watching and waiting,' says Saundra. 'We have been warned that the damage to Jasmine's heart is permanent.

'Although the treatment could put an end to the swelling, we just don't know what the future holds or what help there is going to be.'

In June the Sunday Mercury revealed how Jasmine's aunt, Big Brother 3 star Alison Hammond, had promised to donate a large chunk of the pounds 70,000 prize money towards research into the little girl's condition if she'd won the TV gameshow.

Now, to mark Jasmine's courage, she has been chosen to be a Sunday Mercury Wonderkid. We have linked up with Birmingham Midshires to honour the courage of Midland youngsters who have fought back against adversity.

Each of our Wonderkids will receive a pounds 150 cheque and commemorative medal - and they will all be invited to a huge party next month.

Dan Watkins, Birmingham Midshires' managing director, says: 'It's sobering to think how much Jasmine's life has changed in just a few weeks.

'As with all our Wonderkids, I'm sure Jasmine will amaze us all with her ability to cope through this traumatic time.'


ALL SMILES... Kawasaki sufferer Jasmine Page
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Nov 24, 2002
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