An athletic teenager was paralyzed from the waist down two days after Christmas after being hospitalized with sudden and excruciating back pain.
Daniel Hassan spent six months in the hospital after being diagnosed with a “one in a million” disease.
The 14-year-old from High Heaton, Newcastle, was playing chess with his brother on December 27 when he suddenly had excruciating back pain.
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Within 10 minutes he was on the floor, screaming in pain and losing all feeling in his legs.
Daniel was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary and after a few days was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis – an extremely rare condition that has paralyzed him from the waist down.
After being bedridden for three months, he transferred to a wheelchair and eventually began to walk on crutches.
And this week Daniel finally left the station to return home with his family, applauded by the doctors and nurses who took care of him.
“The medical staff is treating him like a miracle,” said Daniel’s mother, Balsam Ahmad.
“It is very difficult to say what will happen next to his condition because it is very rare and very individual.
“That is the hardest part – the prognosis is not clear, but we are optimistic about what he has achieved so far.”
Before December 27th, Balsam said: “He was a completely normal 14-year-old, really fit and healthy, really athletic. He was one of the best runners at Heaton Harriers.
“That day he played chess with his brother on a normal Sunday.
“He went into his room and within 10 minutes he was screaming on the floor with excruciating back pain.”
After going to the emergency room, Daniel was admitted to a ward and was eventually diagnosed with transverse myelitis – a rare inflammatory disease that causes an injury to the spinal cord.
Balsam said, “It’s a very rare disease – one in a million. In Daniel’s case, the attack came suddenly without warning. No cause was found either.
“It was devastating because it stole what he loved most – his running.”
In addition to working extensively with physical therapists, Daniel was regularly visited by a Newcastle United Foundation project leader who helped him try out various adapted sports.
Balsam said: “It showed him that nothing is impossible and that he can still play sports, his life as an athlete is not over yet.”
And on Wednesday June 23rd, Daniel managed to get out of the ward without crutches – something he had promised “from day one”.
Balsam said, “Daniel did a lot of physical therapy and tried very hard even with such severe pain.
“Nobody would have believed when he first introduced on December 27th that he would run in June.
“This is a testament to his hard work in the physical area, but also to the brilliance of the rehabilitation team.”
Now Daniel has decided that he wants to give something back and is collecting donations for both the Newcastle Hospitals Charity and the Newcastle United Foundation.
From the day he is discharged from hospital through the date of the Great North Run and his 15th birthday on September 12, he plans to take at least 10,000 steps a week.
Balsam said: “One of his goals now is to get involved in adapted sports.
“It’s resilient for the most part, but there are times when it’s really tough – there are lots of medications and lots of paralysis issues.
“It’s been a really tough journey for a 14 year old. It was very shocking, very sudden, very life changing. “
Daniel’s fundraising pages can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/daniel-h1 and https://www.gofundme.com/f/supporting-children-in-longterm-hospital-stay