Brave Maya defies medical experts

By Danielle NuttallSINCE she was born, little Maya Felton has astounded medical experts with her courage and determination to live.On top of battling life-threatening infections and putting up with an exhausting medical routine, the youngster has defied doctor's expectations by learning to walk and talk - and today, as she approaches her fifth birthday, is no exception.

By Danielle Nuttall

SINCE she was born, little Maya Felton has astounded medical experts with her courage and determination to live.

On top of battling life-threatening infections and putting up with an exhausting medical routine, the youngster has defied doctor's expectations by learning to walk and talk - and today, as she approaches her fifth birthday, is no exception.

Maya, who lives with her family in Bixley Road, Ipswich, has recently enrolled in a mainstream primary school and has already managed four, two-hour days in her new class. She can also now climb up the stairs by herself.


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It is a dream come true for her parents Mark, 42, and Marlini, 37, who are desperate to give their daughter as normal a life as possible.

The little girl, who attends Britannia Primary School in Ipswich, was born with an extremely severe skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa recessive dystrophic type II.

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The condition causes her skin to tear at the slightest knock or friction, leaving wounds constantly open to infection.

Maya, who has an 11-year-old sister called Martha and a brother Matthew, 13, undergoes two full-body dressing changes a week. The bandages enable her to move about without damaging too much of the skin.

She also has to be fed through a tube in her stomach because the skin inside her throat has contracted, stopping her from eating.

Mr Felton said: “A lot of people had written her off, but they didn't know Maya, she's just not ready. She's here and she's here to stay for the moment. It's a shame what she has to go through.

“She's still quite strong in the mind, but her body is deteriorating. We can see the skin is getting weaker as she gets older, but Maya's spirit for life is there, nothing gets in her way.

“Like now she can go up the stairs by herself through determination and strength and her speech has come on really well.

“She's quite a sociable little child and is mixing quite well. The children at school have really accepted her. From January, we hope she will have the option of going every day if she's up to it.”

Mr Felton said the children were inquisitive about Maya's condition, but were coping quite well with their new arrival.

“If we can get her to go regularly for two hours, I think she will soon fit in. Other children adapt quite quickly and she'll soon build friends. She'll have some normality,” he added.

The East Anglian Daily Times launched the Haven for Maya campaign in February 2002 after learning her playroom had to be transformed into a medical centre to cope with her needs.

It aimed to raise £15,000 to build the family a conservatory/extension to be used as a playroom - and the target was raised within just eight days, with the final amount collected approaching £30,000.

Maya, who turns five on December 23, has been enjoying the new playroom for more than a year now.

“The playroom has been a Godsend. It's been great. It's given us all space,” said Mr Felton.

“If there's a meeting going on here they can all go in the playroom. It's nice, light and cool and she has lots of toys in there. She likes doing painting and colouring.

“We're not scared of her bumping into anything. We would like to thank the readers, it has been a great help. It's just about making her life as comfortable as possible.”

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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