Kiwi teenager girl with a rare disease speaks after 4 years of silence


There are many illnesses which cause loss of our sensory organs. Losing any one of sensory organs to any illness or accident can be a life changing experience for any one. Let alone if you are just a teenager, who has started to experience the joys of life.

One such Kiwi teenager lost a very important organ when she was 9 years old due to life threatening disease, but has recently won a huge battle against the disease by doing something that everyone wanted her to accomplish.

Find out what happened to her and how she has won the first round against the disease.

1 Who is Grace Yeats?

Grace Yeats was a normal 9-year-old girl from Carteton in New Zealand, when she was diagnosed with a serious brain illness known as basal ganglia necrosis. After her 10th birthday, Grace came down with a bout of throat, head and nose ailments. Initially the doctors diagnosed her with a simple virus and gave her medicine and sent her back home.

But she woke up unable to do any work and was just vomiting. She also complained of pain in her legs. Seeing her condition going bad rapidly, she was moved to the ER, where scans showed that her brain was under attack. A condition known as basal ganglia necrosis was setting in.

Who is Grace Yeats?

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2 The illness

The disease Basal Ganglia Necrosis means that the tissue in the basal ganglia part of the brain is experiencing death. This can occur due to carbon monoxide poisoning, head injury, infection, metabolic problems, and side effects of some medications, stroke and even tumors.

Even brain disorders like Dystonia, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Wilson’s disease can cause Basal Ganglia Necrosis. Some of the movements of the disease are sudden changes in movements of the body, increased movement of involuntary type. Increase in muscle tone, tremors, pain in extremities and other such noticeable symptoms are also present.

The disease can be diagnosed by CT scans, MRI scans, testing of genes and blood tests.

The illness

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3 The treatment

Basal Ganglia Necrosis treatments can be of three kinds, gene therapy, Ablation and deep brain stimulation. But Grace here was diagnosed with an incurable variant of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Treatment for her condition costs $1,100 per month and a funding page has raised more than $30,000 so far.

Her neurologist and speech therapist were left dumbfounded when out of nowhere she responded to a nurse’s question while her clothes were being changed. Her father says “I’ll admit it is miraculous. It’s very hard to explain. What’s miraculous about it is that for four years we’ve tried to get her to talk. She was the talker in the family. We called her Lady Blah Blah.”

He continues further, “For nearly four years we have tried and tried and tried to get her to communicate with us because it’s just so important, especially in a situation like this. We need Grace to be able to say yes or no.”

Grace is unable to move her legs, hands or head, but can listen and understand everything said to her.

The treatment

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4 The reactions of friends and family

Her mother has been ecstatic on hearing the news that Grace spoke her first words in 4 years. She has been positing videos of Grace talking, with a video of her reciting the alphabets and smiling when she gets all of them correct. Another video has her saying ‘thank you’.

The reactions of friends and family

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According to Mrs. Yeats, Grace’s ability to speak has returned due to the morphine assisted relaxed state after the surgery she had and from the medicinal cannabis that she has been using for past few months.

Anyways, the family is hoping that Grace improves from here and her health just gets better and better and that god doesn’t take it away after showing them hope, which they had lost some time back.


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