Former Hadleigh hairdresser Megan Margerison-Gellender fund-raising for charities which helped her daughter Immie, four
A former owner of a Hadleigh hair salon, whose daughter has complicated health issues, is fund-raising for the charities which helped her.
Megan Margerison-Gellender, 30, ran MMG Hairdressing, in High Street, until her young daughter Immie’s health issues led to a family move to Newcastle.
After concerns during infancy, Immie, who was born in April 2020, was later diagnosed with two brain tumours, severe epilepsy and cerebral palsy.
However, her diagnosis and treatment was delayed due to the pandemic and difficulties accessing face-to-face appointments with a GP.
“Immie was born two weeks into the lockdown so getting an appointment was like gold dust,” said Megan.
“I never got seen by a health visitor when Immie was a newborn. It was all phone call appointments.”
When Immie was only a few days old Megan raised concerns about her daughter’s health with her nurse.
She was worried about Immie’s right hand, which was in a tight fist, and asked to see a doctor in person but says she was refused.
After nearly a year of being unable to see a GP, Megan took her daughter to get treated for an ear infection and refused to leave the surgery until Immie was examined further.
“I felt very angry, letdown and heartbroken,” said Megan.
“It was not a very nice time. My husband was away in the military so I was completely alone. I know the NHS is under stress, but Immie could have been treated sooner if it wasn’t for the delay.”
Immie was then diagnosed with polymicrogyria – a condition characterised by an abnormal development of the brain before birth.
However, due to the lack of consultants specialising in the condition, the family decided to move to Newcastle in November 2021 to be nearer specialists.
That was when Immie had her first seizure followed by a second a few weeks later, both resulting in hospital stays and leading to a diagnosis of epilepsy.
The doctors suspected Immie’s seizures were brought on by meningitis and undertook more examinations, leading to the discovery of two brain tumours.
Megan said: “From the severity of her scans, she’s a bit of a walking miracle.
“She shouldn’t be able to walk but she can. Milestone-wise, she’s exactly where she should be.”
Now aged four, Immie needs to take daily medications and have a couple of hospital appointments a month.
Megan added: “We’ve been through a lot, but we are a very good team.
“Immie is doing really well but the seizures are still impacting her. She has four a week.
“The tumours have remained stable for six months post surgery.
“I think she gets frustrated when she trips or when she struggles riding her bicycle, but she’s the happiest little soul.
Her father Dan and with his friend Chris are taking on a tough physical challenge in recognition of the daily challenges faced by Immie.
They will be running ‘The Wall’ – a 70-mile ultra marathon which needs to be completed within 26 hours – on June 15.
Racing as ‘Team Immie’, Dan is aiming to raise £5,000 for Great North Children’s Hospital and Oscar’s Paediatric Brain Tumour Charity.
To donate click here.
You can also follow Immie’s journey via an Instagram page by clicking here.
Megan added: “He wanted something that would be a challenge.
“Immie goes through daily challenges so he wanted to something that would really push the boat out and be able to raise as much money for charities that have helped us.”