Keeley's Story
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Keeley's Story
By Glenis Green The Courier-Mail

JUST like lots of children her age, little Keeley Green is a bright and mischievous, loves music and playing tricks but she is not like other kids. She has only half a brain.

Keeley, 5, was forced to have surgery to remove the left side of her brain when she was only 16 months old, the victim of a rare neurological condition that was causing uncontrollable seizures.

But her parents, Amanda and Daniel Green, of Bundaberg, have seen their baby emerge from those dark days when her life hung in the balance to become a little girl who is winning small battles in her quest for a normal life.

So remarkable has been her recovery that her parents are starting to dream of what the future might hold.

"She has so much to offer this world," Mrs Green said.

"Such important lessons to teach other people. She fights when there's no fight left in anyone else.

"We have no expectations," said Mrs Green, 26. "She will achieve whatever she can achieve ... but we do have dreams for her, because if you don't have dreams you have nothing."

The Greens are the first to admit that they had no idea someone could even live through having half their brain removed, let alone that they would have to face up to the prospect of it happening to their beautiful baby daughter.

Mrs Green said she had thought Keeley was having seizures in utero, even before she was born on March 20, 2003.

At just two weeks of age, tests revealed Keeley had a rare neurological condition called hemimegalencephaly which was causing the left hemisphere of her brain to grossly malform and overgrow.

She was having hundreds of seizures a day, many of them stopping her breathing. The condition eventually became untreatable, even with massive doses of medication.

The Greens were given no option but to see if Keeley was a candidate to have the whole troublesome left side of her brain completely removed.

At 16 months, she was wheeled into surgery at Sydney's Royal Children's Hospital for the radical procedure, emerging still alive after 17 hours but paralysed down her right-hand side.

While the operation also took away much of her motor and speech skills as well as the vision in her right eye and ability to eat normally, Keeley has amazed doctors and her parents by learning to communicate with her own version of sign language, saying some small words and moving laminated letters and pictures.

"She understands everything that is said to her and loves to play tricks on people," Mrs Green said.

Amazingly, Keeley has even gained enough muscle strength to stand with a walker and attends school for two hours a day, two days a week in Bundaberg where she has a network of little friends.

"She's a bright little girl trapped in a body which just doesn't work very well," Mrs Green said. "She might only have half a brain but she's still got a beautiful mind."

The family has significant rehabilitation costs, and have turned to The Developing Foundation to help buy therapy equipment to install at home rather than trek to Brisbane every fortnight.



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