Towie star Kelsey Stratford's seriously ill sister rushed to hospital after she 'stops breathing at 4am' | The Sun

TOWIE'S Kelsey Stratford was left terrified last night as her little sister stopped breathing and was rushed to hospital.

The reality star, 22, said the youngster, called Kennedy, had possibly suffered a collapsed lung and was left ‘struggling’ for her life during the horrifying experience.

Sharing a picture today of her in hospital, Kelsey wrote: “4am ambulance, possible collapsed lung, love you Kennedy.

She continued: “Praying for my little Kennedy so much today. Last night was the most horrible thing I have had to see in such a long time. She stopped breathing and was struggling for a long time yesterday. So, so unfair and gutted for her.”

Kennedy, who is thought to be nine, has life-limiting disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  

Kelsey previously broke down in tears as she opened up about her sister's illness on The Only Way Is Essex – also revealing that Kennedy's twin brother Karter died from the disease when he was just four months old.

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Doctors initially warned Kennedy's family that she was unlikely to live past 18 months, with the strong little girl proving the professionals wrong.

Kelsey said of her sister at the time: "She's got a disease called SMA, it paralyses her from the neck down but her brain is completely normal."

Kelsey detailed the extreme lengths the family went through in a desperate bid to protect Kennedy from coronavirus, with them not leaving the house for months.

The star explained: "In lockdown it was really hard for us, for three months I couldn't leave the front door – I still haven't even kissed her, it's been six months. It's scary."

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Despite their precautions, Kennedy nearly died after catching Covid and ended up in intensive care.

What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?

SPINAL muscular atrophy, also known as SMA, is a genetic condition with several types that affects different ages.

In a majority of cases, a child can only be born with SMA if both parents have a faulty gene that causes it – with around 1 in every 40 to 60 people a carrier.

Even if both parents have the gene, there is a 50% chance the child won't have SMA but be a carrier, and a 25% chance that they will have the disease.

It is a serious condition that worsens over time, but treatment can help to manage symptoms.

The most severe type of SMA is type 1, which develops in babies less than six months old.

Type 2 impacts babies aged 7-18 months and is less severe, with the third type the least severe in children and affecting those 18 months or older.

Type 4 affects adults, but only usually causes mild problems.

Symptoms depend on what type you have, but include:

  • Floppy or weak arms and legs
  • Difficulty with movement, such as sitting up, crawling, or walking
  • Twitching or shaking muscles
  • Bone and joint problems, which can include scoliosis
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Issues with swallowing

SMA does not impact intelligence or cause learning disabilities, but it can be life-limiting for children.

Babies diagnosed with type 1 rarely survive past the first few years of their life.

Type 2 usually survive into adulthood and can live fulfilling lives, with types 3 and 4 having no impact on life expectancy.

SMA can't be cured but treatment can manage symptoms, including exercises, specialist equipment, feeding tubes, and surgery for joint or bone problems.

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