Girl, 17, died just weeks after returning from holiday with what she thought was tonsillitis

Leah Rogers died just three months before her eighteenth birthday Credit: Media Wales

A 17-year-old girl died just weeks after returning from a holiday with what she initially believed to be tonsillitis.

Leah Rogers, from Briton Ferry, had returned from her first parent-free holiday in May last year with a group of friends.

However, after initially believing she had come down with a bad case of tonsillitis, Leah received a devastating diagnosis and died just weeks later.

After she fell ill a couple of days after coming home from the holiday in Palma Nova, Leah's parents rang the out of hours surgery and she was prescribed antibiotics.

Leah thought she had tonsillitis when she returned from a holiday with friends Credit: Media Wales

But, as her symptoms worsened, she was taken to hospital twice in the following week. Her mother, Kath Rogers, said: "It got to the point where she took an accidental overdose of paracetamol because she took too many painkillers."

Leah was prescribed a different course of antibiotics, but Kath realised the hospital had not given her enough tablets for 10 days.

When she returned to the hospital alone, she was told Leah would need to be with her in order to receive more medication.

"It's as if it was meant to happen," the 57-year-old said, as when they returned to hospital a consultant decided Leah needed to be admitted to hospital.

Kath said doctors at the hospital initially believed her daughter had glandular fever however, as she had pain in her liver, Leah was still taken for blood tests which showed she had liver failure.

Leah was admitted to hospital where doctors initially thought she had glandular fever Credit: Media Wales

"From there then it escalated. They said she needed to go to a specialist centre in Birmingham. They told us she would possibly need a liver transplant and they were trying to get a bed for her in Birmingham," Kath said.

Leah was taken into intensive care at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend and put on life support before being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

"I thought they'd just put her on life support for the journey and then when we got to Birmingham they'd wake her up. But they never woke her up. They then realised it was far more serious than we had anticipated," Kath said.

Kath said doctors suspected Leah could have leukaemia or a condition called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).

"The doctor said: 'Please don't Google it.' Of course that's the first thing we did. Oh gosh. It hit me like a sledge hammer. It was awful," Kath said.

A balloon release at Aberavon Beach in memory of Leah Credit: Media Wales

HLH, or haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, is a life-threatening immune condition which causes the body to react inappropriately to a ‘trigger’, usually an infection.

Tragically, Leah received an official diagnosis of HLH. "Basically there was no more treatment they could do for her. I organised for somebody to bring my son and daughter up. We didn't know how long she had but we knew it wasn't very long," Kath said.

After discussions with doctors, the family made the decision to begin decreasing Leah's medication.

"They then stopped the life support and within minutes she was gone. It was about three o'clock in the morning. We thought we might have had days but it turned into hours," Kath said. Leah died on June 7, 2022, just three months before her 18th birthday.

The family are now raising awareness of the condition in the hopes that a cure can be found.

Staff and pupils at Leah's former school, Ysgol Bae Baglan, created this display on the day of Leah's funeral Credit: Media Wales

"You don't ever expect to lose your child. It is the hardest thing ever. I don't know if we'll ever get over it. It's the worst thing imaginable," Kath said.

"We've just had to learn to live with it the best we can. Leah achieved so many things in her life and it just made us realise you have to live life to the full and value what you've got."

Her family raised over £20,000 for the charity Histio UK through a fundraiser - which also marked Leah's 18th birthday - at a local pub.

This month, they are fundraising for the charity again through an event to remember Leah on September 9 at JK's in Briton Ferry.

Tickets, costing £10, are available at JK's and any donations or payments to the charity can be made via PayPal to