Scots toddler who suffered stroke on holiday in Spain diagnosed with ultra-rare disease

A Scots toddler who suffered a stroke on holiday in Salou has been diagnosed with an ultra-rare "one in 10 million" blood disease.

Little Georgia McLaughlin, from Glasgow, was on her first holiday abroad in the Spanish town with her parents Kirsty, 37, and Andrew, 38, in June 2023.

The 18-month-old suddenly screamed in pain and began to have a seizure.

She was rushed to a local hospital where a brain scan revealed the tot had suffered a stroke.

The family were blue-lighted to a bigger hospital in Barcelona where they spent two weeks in ICU before being flown home by air ambulance.

Since July, the youngster has been in Glasgow Children's Hospital and undergone two major brain surgeries.

It took almost six weeks for neurology experts to diagnose her with Moyamoya disease - a rare blood vessel disorder which causes strokes.

Mum Kirsty, a network officer for Glasgow Council, told the Record: "Georgia had just started to walk and talk.

"One day she seemed irritable but she was teething.

"Her arm suddenly went limp and I knew something wasn't right.

"Then she let out a screech of pain I had never heard before in my life. She looked like she was having a seizure.

"We rushed her to the nearest hospital and a scan showed it was a stroke. I had never heard of a baby having a stroke."

The distraught parents spent two weeks uncertain if their daughter would survive while using Google translator to speak to Spanish doctors.

She continued: "It was terrifying not knowing if she was going to make it.

"She was so unwell she couldn't fly home for two weeks. We were taken by air ambulance to Glasgow's sick kids hospital."

Medics were left baffled by Georgia's condition and she was sent to see a specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

After weeks of tests she was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease which causes the artery in the skull to narrow and become blocked. The cruel disease affects one in a million people, but due to how progressive it is for Georgia, her case is one in 10 million.

The toddler was scheduled for brain surgery but in a tragic twist of fate, she suffered a devastating stroke that left her blind, unable to walk or talk.

Kirsty continued: "The medics in Glasgow were baffled by what was wrong.

"We were sent to Great Ormond Street Hospital for a diagnosis. They had never seen someone so young suffering from a stroke.

"Georgia's scans showed both sides of her brain were being impacted by the strokes so she was scheduled for two surgeries.

"We were told there was a 50% chance she wouldn't make it through brain surgery but if we did nothing the strokes would eventually kill her.

"Then she had a catastrophic stroke. She lost her eyesight, she was floppy and couldn't hold her head up.

"I thought I had lost my little girl."

Despite the odds, the brave little tot has now had two successful brain operations, her most recent surgery on April 9.

Her parents hope her condition will stabilise and she will learn how to walk and talk again.

She even has a place reserved at a nursery.

The family has been supported by CHAS throughout Georgia's ordeal.

Kirsty added: "She’s a wee warrior and has to learn to do everything again.

"She is already trying to stand up and will be learning to walk again with physio.

"Three strokes and two brain surgeries, and she has taken it all in her stride. She’s an absolute superstar.

"We went through IVF before I fell pregnant with Georgia. She is our miracle baby."

"She will have MRIs annually to monitor her condition but we hope she will continue to develop.

"Every Thursday the CHAS nurses come out and give us a bit of respite, it’s great, she absolutely loves them."

"We have just gotten home after months of being in hospital and we can't wait to enjoy life as a family."

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