Thoughtful Calderdale teen who suffered a brain haemorrhage comes up with care package project

This brave Northowram teen faced months of recovery after battling a brain haemorrhage  - but decided to put the time to good use by helping others.

By sarah fitton
Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 9:19 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 9:20 am
Heidi Hanson and some of the boxes she has made up.
Heidi Hanson and some of the boxes she has made up.

Heidi Hanson has been putting together toiletries packages for families of children like her who suddenly found themselves in the neuro ward at Leeds Children’s Hospital.

The idea came when Heidi met a mum from Scarborough whose child had been brought to the hospital as an emergency. The woman was miles from home without any basic personal care products.

“She wanted to do something that helped in a practical way,” said Heidi’s mum, Nicola.

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As many parents arrive on the ward with no notice, sometimes a substantial distance from where they live, the boxes of toothbrushes, deodorant and even a change of underwear, have been hugely appreciated.

Heidi, a pupil at Lightcliffe Academy, was 12 when she was treated there after suffering what started with a severe headache and quickly progressed to vomiting, memory problems and a seizure.

She was rushed to hospital where a scan showed she had a bleed on the brain. Doctors considered surgery but were concerned the operation needed could severely impact Heidi’s abilities.

Miraculously, the brain haemorrhage led to a blood clot that covered the bleed and amazingly, by the time the clot had reabsorbed, the bleed had stopped.

Heidi’s recovery has seen her miss a year of school but now, 14, and with the support of her mum Nicola, dad Tim, sister Izzy and brother Hugo, she is back studying, flourishing and still making the care packages.

“Right from the very beginning, she’s kept her sense of humour.” said Heidi’s mum Nicola. We’re so proud of her.”

Heidi’s recovery has seen her undergo some unusual symptoms, including temporarily losing skills which have then returned.

”She used to play the harp and she found she couldn’t play but then one day she tried it and she could again,” explained Nicola. “It was as if she hadn’t missed a day of playing.”

Heidi lost the letter M for a while, unable to recognise it written down, and sometimes her senses have been linked up in unusual ways, such as the smell of burning wood making her feel like she can taste cake.

”She’s incredibly resilient,” said Nicola.

“She‘s very determined and academic and I think this has made her more so. I think she feels she has something to prove.”

Nicola said she waned to thank the doctors at the hospitals in Halifax, Leeds and Sheffield who have treated Heidi, especially neurosurgeon John Goodden.