Doncaster baby youngest with rare disease

Joanne McBride, 40, with her daughter Freya, now five-months-old, who has Kawasaki disease.
Joanne McBride, 40, with her daughter Freya, now five-months-old, who has Kawasaki disease.

A Doncaster mum has urged parents to be aware of a rare illness that left her baby daughter with serious heart problems.

Joanne McBride, aged 40, of Sprotborough, is campaigning for more research to be done into Kawasaki disease, a condition which causes the blood vessels to become inflamed and swollen.

Joanne’s daughter Freya was two months old when she became the youngest person in the country to be diagnosed with the condition.

She is now a happy, healthy five-month-old but by the time she was diagnosed it was too late to prevent damage to the heart.

“Freya suffered for nearly two weeks before a diagnosis was reached, but if the condition is diagnosed within 10 days and medication is given it reduces the risk of coronary complications from around 25 per cent to five per cent.

“I don’t blame anybody, but I’d like to stop this happening to somebody else,” said Joanne.

“On the surface, my baby is healthy and happy now, but nobody knows what is going on beneath the surface unless it is checked.

“I don’t want to scare anybody because thankfully it is rare, but I want people to be aware.”

Joanne took Freya, then just seven-weeks-old, to Doncaster Royal Infirmary as she had a severely high temperature.

Doctors thought she had bacterial meningitis, but after eight days of treatment there was no improvement in Freya’s condition and she was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Following multiple tests, including one for leukaemia, Freya was finally diagnosed with Kawasaki disease – 13 days after her mum first took her to hospital.

She was then transferred to a high dependency unit of Leeds General Infirmary for further tests.

A heart echo scan revealed Freya’s arteries were the size of a teenager’s and Joanne was given the devastating news that her coronary aneurism could rupture – and if it did there was nothing that could be done.

“I was so scared I might lose her, but that is less of a worry now,” said Joanne.

Freya has been given medication, including aspirin to keep her blood thin, and her condition has improved.

She has returned home to her family but will need treatment for life.

n To sign the petition, visit and search for Kawasaki disease. To follow Freya’s story, visit Joanne’s blog at or search for Freya’s Story on Facebook.