Printer Friendly

My baby girl's gone from this ... to this.

Byline: Martin Shaw Assistant News Editor

IT is a truly remarkable transformation.

As a baby Stephanie Brown was covered from head to toe in red, itchy spots, which made other mums shy away for fear she was contagious.

But now the youngster is all smiles and as pretty as a picture.

So much so that mum Maria would love her to have a chance at modelling, even if it was just for a day.

It is a far cry from her early days when, for weeks, her heartbroken mum battled with medics to nd out what was wrong.

Finally, doctors diagnosed one of the rarest medical conditions in the UK - Diuse Cutaneous Mastocytosis or Masto for short.

At the time, in January 2008, there were only three other known cases in the UK. Doctors nally worked out what was causing the scabby hives on Stephanie's skin but, bluntly, one of them told school worker Maria: "Your daughter will be able to do whatever she wants in life but she'll never make a model."

Now, some six years later, Stephanie's Masto is well under control and that "spotty baby" who once cleared a shop full of people is emerging into a pretty young girl with chocolate box looks.

Now learning mentor Maria, 42, and council driver husband Nigel, 46, of Mireld, want to prove the blunt doctor wrong and make their eldest daughter a poster girl.

"Since that day it's been my own ambition for Stephanie to do some modelling," said Maria. "To get a modelling contract, even just as a one-o, would do it for me.

"I know I'm biased but I think Stephanie is stunning. I don't know how Nigel and I managed that!" " Stephanie's condition means her body produces too many 'mast' cells, rare blood cells formed in the bone marrow to aid inghting o illness and infection.

When the cells went into overdrive the result was masses of unsightly red hives. -e only part of Stephanie's body not aected was the tip of her nose.

Maria secured the diagnosis when she turned up at Dewsbury District Hospital and refused to leave until doctors found out what was wrong.

Relieved to have a name for the condition, she then scoured the internet for a treatment and found PUVA, a combination of the drug Psoralen and ultraviolet light (UVA).

-e 'sunbed' treatment improved Stephanie's skin and since that 15-week course when she was about nine months old, her condition has been kept stable with antihistamine and antacids.

Since Christmas Maria has weaned Stephanie o the drugs but still gives her antihistamines when needed.

Two years ago Maria gave birth to a sister for Stephanie. Little Gracie has been another precious addition to the family.

Maria said, given the odds, the couple didn't believe Gracie would have Masto. She doesn't, but she has red hair and porcelain skin. She gets hives on her skin but they go as quickly as they appear.

Since Stephanie was diagnosed, Maria has been closely involved with UK Masto, a nationwide support group, which is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Currently there are around 80 known Masto cases.

-e most famous gure to have a form of Masto was the late Superman actor Christopher Reeve.

Stephanie, who has behavioural swings and phobias as a result of the condition, knows she is dierent but isn't embarrassed.

"She just says she's special, like Superman," said Maria.

"We're told she may grow out of the condition by the time she's a teenager but until then we just carry on.

"We still get people gawping at her but they don't shy away like they used to. Until you see someone move away from your child in disgust you don't know what it's like.

"-e condition itself has been easier to manage than the prejudice we have had to face."


Stephanie Brown, aged 11 months, with one of the rarest medical conditions in the UK - Diffuse Cutaneous Mastocytosis - and sitting pretty now after her treatment |

Stephanie |undergoing her UV treatment as a baby

| Stephanie Brown with newborn sister |Gracie two years ago, her condition much improved, and below, a picture of health now with mum Maria and Gracie
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2014 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 7, 2014
Previous Article:BUS FIRM GOES ROUTE ONE! New look London style vehicles on way.
Next Article:Cannabis used to relieve cancer stress.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters