Young girl battles leukaemia after scratching her knee on a thorn and almost losing her leg

231021 Annabelle Newman, syndication
Annabelle Newman had a two to three millimetre thorn lodged into her skin which led to an aggressive infection spreading through her body.

A young girl who almost had her leg amputated is now battling leukaemia after scratching her knee on a thorn.

Annabelle Newman from Pembrey, Llanelli, had a two to three millimetre thorn lodged into her skin after playing, which resulted in an infection throughout her body.

The seven-year-old has since undergone seven operations to save her leg from amputation after the infection spread to her foot and near her groin.

At the beginning of October, Annabelle was diagnosed aggressive acute myeloid leukaemia which has affected her immune system.

Annabelle's mother, Charlene Kirby said: "The hospital were concerned about Annabelle's blood count and wanted a bone marrow sample.

"We were aware her bone marrow had deteriorated from the thorn incident but we didn't expect it to turn into leukaemia."

At the beginning of this year, Annabelle's mother pulled the tiny thorn out and thought nothing of it.

Soon after, her daughter's skins became blotchy after the blackthorn (prunus spinosa) turned septic.

Annabelle's mother, Charlene, says 2021 has been the worst year for her family.

Her mother said: "A week later she started getting blotches, like heat spots, from her knee to her foot and her foot started to lose skin. The week after that she started getting a white discharge which turned to green.

"We went to the doctor but they wouldn't see her so they gave her antibiotics instead but it made it more angry.

"She was pale and wouldn't eat or drink so we phoned 111 and took her to A&E and had to wait about six hours to be seen before she was admitted to the children's ward in Glangwili Hospital."

The infection had spread so aggressively in just a few days resulting in Annabelle needing surgery in May.

Charlene added: "They made 11 holes to try and swab and clear up the infection. The surgeon couldn't believe how much infection there was in her one leg".

Annabelle has undergone a number of other surgeries since.

Annabelle lives with lymphedema which is a condition where excess fluid in her body causes swelling, as well as myelodysplastic syndrome meaning her bone marrow doesn't produce enough healthy blood cells.

Surgeons explained that "the soil from the blackthorn plant was causing the infection in her leg as it gathers poison".

Following the incident, Annabelle has been receiving physiotherapy to help get her moving and stretch her leg.

After undergoing her seven operations, Annabelle's family became concerned when they noticed bruises increasingly appearing on her arms and back.

It was then when they received the unexpected news that her myelodysplastic syndrome had developed into acute myeloid leukaemia.

Annabelle is now in urgent need of a full bone marrow transplant and will have a three month stay in either Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle or Bristol's children hospital.

The family are currently waiting to find out if her dad is a blood match.

Close friend Kelly Nicholson has set up a fundraiser to help support Annabelle and the family.

Charlene says 2021 has been the worst year for her family.

"Annabelle is extremely tired," she said. "We've spoken to her saying 'your blood is poorly because the thorn has caused your immune system to weaken and it's not protecting you from bad bugs'.

"I feel bad for her. She never gets a break."