Eden fighting back after brain injury

Nine year old Eden Dora with mum Petrina
Nine year old Eden Dora with mum Petrina

At first glance, Eden Dora Goldman looks like any other nine-year-old girl.

But the youngster, daughter of Doncaster Rovers training facilities manager Phil Goldman, struggles every day with the effects of a condition which nearly killed her, making tasks she used to find easy an upsetting challenge.

Eden was hours from death after being struck with encephalitis, an illness which causes inflammation of the brain.

After emergency treatment the schoolgirl pulled through – but the condition left her with a brain injury which has slowed her development.

Mum Petrina said her daughter’s future prospects are uncertain and she felt ‘lost and isolated’ after her child’s ordeal.

Now Petrina, a jewellery saleswoman, and Eden’s dad Phil, have launched the Eden Dora Trust charity.

It aims to raise awareness of encephalitis, and fund research and training for adults who work with children faced with similar problems.

Its patrons including One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and cricket legend Andrew Flintof. Its first big fundraiser – a family fun day – is on Sunday

“Acquired brain injury is a hidden illness and affects every sufferer differently,” said Petrina.

“She looks ‘normal’, but for Eden the simplest task is a huge challenge. She quickly gets extremely mentally tired. Getting through every single day is a struggle.

“She takes longer to process information, and can’t ride a bike, for example. She used to love art, but has started to shy away from that. She’s starting to feel more and more like a failure.”

Eden developed encephalitis three ago. There are several types of the illness with different causes, but the brain inflammation can be triggered by common viruses.

Petrina said she had kept her daughter off school as she seemed ‘a little bit poorly’. Later that day she suffered a seizure while the pair were lying on the settee watching a film.

She said: “It was just awful. I could see in her eyes just how terrified she was. Then she fell completely unconscious.”

Eden was rushed to hospital and put on specialist medicatio, which saved her life.

She learned to walk and talk again, and it took weeks until she could return home. She still receives therapy.

Petrina said: “I have still got my child, in physical form, but she is different emotionally, physiologically, behaviourally and intellectually.

“I wasn’t prepared for that – I don’t suppose you ever could be.”

“I knew I wanted to raise awareness to help people encountering the same situation.”

The fun day is from midday until 4pm at Far Nova Livery Yard on Shorts Lane, Dore, Sheffield.

Visit www.edendoratrust.org for details.