‘It’s like getting hit by a bus’: Girl battles extreme pain disease to pass GCSEs

A girl suffering from a condition that leaves her in constant excruciating pain was ecstatic after passing seven GCSEs.

Abbie Brill, 16, has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which is a progressive disease that causes severe pain and swelling all over the body.

She had to spend nine months in hospital while studying for her GCSEs at King Solomon High School, but managed to revise and fight through the pain to get two As, two Bs and three Cs.

Abbie was in a wheelchair for some of the exams and had to have a scribe for one subject when her hand swelled up so much she could not write.

She said: “I thought I was going to fail all of them. I’ve had lots of help in school but I had to teach myself a lot of it.


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“I’ve had a lot of support from the school and my friends helped me revise.

“It’s a great community so if I hadn’t had that I wouldn’t have been able to push through at all.”

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Abbie, of Mount Pleasant Road, Chigwell, was diagnosed with CRPS in March 2011 after doctors at several hospitals could not find the cause of her pain.

She was in a wheelchair until May last year, when physiotherapists at Great Ormond Street Hospital helped her walk again.

Mum Stacey Brill said: “There are days when she can’t even walk but she’s coping well.

“Great Ormond Street Hospital gave her a lot of ways of managing the pain.

“She suffers every day but she’s just been taught how to make the best of what she’s got.”

Abbie said she is still deciding what to do with her GCSEs, but is looking at vocational courses.

She added: “I want to do physiotherapy and work at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I’d like to help other teenagers.”

In the meantime, she has created a YouTube video explaining the condition and started a Facebook support group for young CRPS sufferers with a friend.

She said: “There’s pain everywhere in your body all the time. It’s like getting hit by a bus and burning.

“Support groups are mainly in America but I thought if I’m going through it then there must be other kids going through it who don’t know what to do.

“We can help each other.”

Visit the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/pages/Rsdcrps-in-England.

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