Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ten Seizures a Day Left Ali Unwilling to Talk.Now He's a Chatterbox Who Loves Lessons - Even Maths; Evening Gazette COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS the People's Awards Sponsored by BARCLAYS NORTHUMBRIAN WATER

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ten Seizures a Day Left Ali Unwilling to Talk.Now He's a Chatterbox Who Loves Lessons - Even Maths; Evening Gazette COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS the People's Awards Sponsored by BARCLAYS NORTHUMBRIAN WATER

Article excerpt

Byline: By SARAH JUDD

A BRAVE little boy who endured up to 10 terrifying seizures a day has had life-changing surgery, after his Jordanian parents brought him to Teesside.

Eight-year-old Ali Mohammed was struck down by meningitis when he was just three.

The toddler fought off the disease, but was left with brain damage and epilepsy, which hampered his quality of life and development.

But after his parents Sahar and Ghassan left Jordan and sought asylum in Netherfields, Middlesbrough, with their four boys, Ali had surgery which ended the seizures.

Mum Sahar said: "He's a different child now.

Before, he would have a fit then sleep, but he's active now and likes to play outside. He would not talk before but now he chatters all the time. The seizures had interfered with his schooling and development but after the big operation in Durham they stopped and he is starting to be able to learn more."

Ali, who loves maths lessons at Pennyman's School in Ormesby, still has some medical problems and may face a further operation.

He also has two injections a week, which he will need for life, to protect his immune system and uses leg supports and a wheelchair due to a weakness of the right side of his body.

Ali's bravery prompted his nomination for Champion Child of Courage, sponsored by Northumbrian Water.

Catherine Hughes, a community worker for Stronger Together in East Middlesbrough (STEM) nominated Ali after learning of his plight as she helped the family settle in Middlesbrough. She said: "Ali is always brave and cheerful. His parents have seen a dramatic improvement in his reading, writing and arithmetic, where before, he wouldn't have lasted a lesson before he would have a seizure and need to sleep."

The whole family, including Ali and his brothers Zaid, 14, Sam, 13 and Yosef, 19 months, have been involved with STEM events and Sahar has cooked for cultural awareness projects. …

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