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Young girl feared mute says 'I love you mom'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 12th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A 10-year-old girl, suffering numerous disabilities after being born prematurely, was feared mute . until she was able to say "I love you, mom" to her mother. Now, the parents of little Francesca Adam-Smith have begun a fundraising drive to send her to a special school where instructors say they can have her speaking in a year.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Francesca was born right after her mother was rushed to the hospital with heart failure. Francesca has since suffered from pneumonia, septicemia, renal failure, high blood pressure and undergone operations on her stomach, hip and ears, nose and throat.

Her physical issues are the result of genetics. Doctors say that damage to chromosome 16 caused her delicate condition. Doctors within the United Kingdom are at a loss on how to treat her condition, as no other known case of this type has been reported around the world.
 
Francesca had long tried to share her thoughts and feelings with her parents but it was only until recently she was able to render a few sounds. A specialist school has thrown her a lifeline by promising they could have her talking properly within a year.

The school costs 60,000 and in spite of Francesca's local education need, she has been turned down for funding.

Francesca's mother says that the family had been left "completely crushed" at the decision and she has now launched a fundraising drive to get her daughter enrolled.

"Francesca tries so desperately to speak and gets increasingly frustrated and tearful when she can't," Francesca's mom says, speaking from their home in Wetherby, West Yorkshire.

"She is bright as a button but she is locked in her body and needs this intensive therapy to give her the best possible chance.

"She is a unique child and it is destroying me that she cannot reach her full potential.

"To hear her tell me she loves me took my breath away. I know she has so much more she wants to say."

Ms. Adam-Smith, gave up her career as a member of British Airways cabin crew in order to care for her daughter full-time. "I am not wealthy and I have nowhere to turn.

"Doctors tell me we need to act now if she is to be in with a chance but the appeal process could take months.

"If I can raise enough funds to give her just a year at this school it would make such a massive difference."

As a pupil of St. Mary's in Sussex, Francesca would receive daily speech training as well as other therapies.

A spokeswoman for the school said it was confident it could help Francesca. "The gap between Francesca's desire to communicate, her understanding of language and her ability to express this knowledge must be urgently addressed."

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