Sisters receive 'life-changing' Batten Disease treatment at Newcastle hospital

  • Watch Jonny Blair's report

Two sisters from Newcastle are receiving life-changing treatment at the RVI's Great North Children's Hospital.

Nicole and Jessica Rich, aged ten and seven respectively, both suffer from Batten Disease, a rare genetic condition that affects the nervous system.

The sisters previously had to travel to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London once every two weeks. Before that, Jessica had to travel to Hamburg in Germany.

The RVI is now just one of three hospitals in England to offer the service alongside ones in London and Manchester. Other centres are now planned across the country.

Batten Disease can cause sight loss, seizures and movement issues with symptoms usually discovered during childhood.

Jessica and Nicole with their dad Matthew. Credit: ITV

There is no cure for the disease but treatment can significantly slow progress.

"Having treatment in Newcastle has completely changed our lives" the sisters' mum Gail told ITV Tyne Tees. "Nicole is in full-time school. She's got a full life

"As much she's lost many of her abilities and she's fully dependent on us, she has an amazing quality of life.

"Jessica is a walking miracle. Her cognitive abilities are fantastic and she's got an amazing memory. It is miraculous.

"The treatment is keeping them alive and healthy."

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