Battling Sophie’s illness

Battling Sophie’s illness

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Phillip Myers and Katie McLachlan with their children Sophie and Jacob. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Three-year-old Sophie Myers has been poked and prodded, tested and retested all her life after she was born with congenital cytomegalovirus.

Doctors discovered during Beckenham resident Katie McLachlan’s first trimester of pregnancy that her unborn baby didn’t quite match her gestation.

“The doctors told us that I had contracted a virus which had symptoms similar to the common cold and flu and that our baby would be born with CCMV,” she said.

“We had both never heard of it before Sophie was born but was told it is apparently quite common.”

The main side effects or symptoms of CCMV are hearing loss, sight loss and developmental delays, as well as links to autism and epilepsy.

Doctors gave the family the choice to abort the pregnancy at the 30-week mark but it was a decision both Ms McLachlan and her husband Phillip Myers could not support.

“We are lucky enough that her sight is fine… she does have a little bit of hearing loss but nothing too serious,” she said.

“Developmentally she is a lot younger than other children her age.

“She is behind in her motor skills, she is still non-verbal and her brain doesn’t respond like other kid’s brains do.

“She will be tested for autism soon and she has got microcephaly as well which means her head is smaller than a normal sized child’s head so her brain needs to be checked regularly as well.”

Ms McLachlan said doctors told them she would never be able to walk but with strict physiotherapy Sophie has defied the odds.

“We do occupational therapy with her every week because without it she wouldn’t have come as far as she has,” she said.

A Facebook page and a GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family raise money.