When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Basingstoke woman's inspirational tale of triumph over adversity
4:30pm Sunday 6th January 2013 in Local
CHARLIE Porter’s story is one of triumph over adversity.
Charlie was born at Basingstoke hospital with spina bifida which meant a piece of her spine was missing.
At just one-day-old, she was operated on and her parents Diane and Steve were given the devastating news that their daughter would probably never walk again.
When Charlie was a week old, it was discovered that she had hydrocephalus – a condition which meant the water on her brain would not drain away – and she needed a shunt fitted in her head.
If this was not enough bad news for the Porter family, at two-weeks-old Charlie was diagnosed with meningitis, caused by the shunt becoming infected.
Despite the odds being against her, Charlie survived further brain surgery to replace the shunt, and defied doctors’ beliefs that she would never walk.
She led a relatively normal life for a while, attending Winklebury Infant and Junior Schools and even learning ballet dancing.
But when Charlie was eight she started suffering from headaches. It took doctors a year to realise there was a problem with the shunt.
Charlie, from Elmwood Way, Winklebury, Basingstoke, said: “They didn’t know exactly what the problem was but said they would determine the best course of action in theatre. They said it would be no worse than having your tonsils out and I would be eating burger and chips by the evening.”
Unfortunately, when Charlie was operated on, it was discovered that the shunt had broken apart and grown into her brain. During the brain surgery, she haemorrhaged, resulting in her suffering a stroke.
Her family was told for the second time that she would never walk again. But Charlie said: “I was determined to prove the doctors wrong and I did.”
Through intensive physiotherapy, Charlie learned to use her legs again for short distances. She had suffered brain damage but was back to school within three months and even returned to her dancing classes.
At 14-years-old, Charlie was diagnosed with ME, a condition which leaves her often exhausted and bedbound.
Despite all she has endured, Charlie, who is now 22, does not let her experience prevent her from fulfilling her dreams, and she has recently graduated from South-ampton University with a degree in psychology as well as learning to ride a horse. In September, she will begin a master’s degree in neuroscience.
And now Charlie has set up a charity called Muffin’s Dream Foundation with the aim of helping others.
Charlie, whose nickname is ‘muffin’, has developed ‘boredom buster’ packs for young people to amuse them while in hospital, and sensory boards for younger children.
Her website mufffinsdreamfoundation.co.uk is set to launch this month, and it will include practical advice for patients and their parents, as well as a special section just for siblings.
Charlie said: “It doesn’t matter what’s happened to you – it’s what you do that counts.
“My life could have taken a very different direction. I could have chosen not to go to school or get my degree and not gone horse riding or taken singing exams.
“But I did what I did because I wanted an ordinary life, and because I’m an ordinary girl. All I have done is take what’s happened to me and turn it around. Now, I want to give others the opportunity to do the same.”
For more information about Muffin’s Dream Foundation, email .
The first fundraising event for the charity will be a coffee morning at Fort Hill Community School, in Winklebury, at 10.30am on January 26.