Kelsey Stratford is terrified as her sister battles coronavirus and sepsis in intensive care – with her family unable to visit her.
The TOWIE star, 19, said doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital “were doing everything they could” for eight-year-old Kennedy, who has end-stage spinal muscular atrophy.
In an interview with MailOnline, Kelsey opened up about her desire for Kennedy to make a full recovery as living in her family home without her brother is unbearable.
‘We don’t all know what’s going to happen’: Kelsey Stratford is terrified as sister battles coronavirus and sepsis in intensive care unit – with family unable to visit
Kelsey explained that Kennedy’s condition weakened her immune system and that she spent every winter in intensive care after catching a cold and, on the worst occasions, pneumonia.
After contracting coronavirus, Kelsey fears the worst for her sister as she is one of the first type 1 SMA patients to fall ill with the disease and now suffers from sepsis.
She said: “I’m sure she’s going to beat him, but this has never happened to a type 1 SMA patient before, they’ve never caught something like this so we don’t all know what is wrong with it. is going to happen.
“Kennedy has been in intensive care every winter, his entire life. But she really struggles with Covid. We are heartbroken.
“She’s in the best place”; The TOWIE star said doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital ‘were doing all they could’ for Kennedy, who suffers from end-stage spinal muscular atrophy
“She’s in the best place, she’s in ICU on Great Ormond Street and my stepdad does a really good job helping her with her treatment and I know how strong Kennedy is.
“Now she has sepsis, it makes things a lot more serious because she has that on top of Covid, which was terrible anyway. It’s really not good at the moment, but the doctors are doing everything they can.
The hardest part for Kelsey is the guilt of leaving Kennedy alone in the hospital as she knows her sister will miss the family, which extends to her mother, stepfather and six other siblings.
She added: “That’s what makes it more difficult, I feel like she’s alone.
‘It’s so quiet without her’: In an interview with MailOnline, Kelsey opened up about her desire for Kennedy to make a full recovery, because living in her family home without her brother is unbearable
“No one else can come in and see her because she is in intensive care and because of Covid. It’s so calm without her because when she’s here she’s just leading us and she’s so strong she’s always singing.
“It’s really calm without her. She has my step dad who was able to visit her but I know she would love to see us all.
What is spinal muscular atrophy?
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a disease that weakens a patient’s strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord.
This results in progressive muscle wasting and the severity of symptoms varies depending on the type.
Type 1: SMA is the most severe and is evident at birth. Weakened muscles make it difficult for people to sit up and usually die by the age of five
Type 2: is intermediate with the patient unable to stand
Type 3: is gentle and makes it difficult to get up from a sitting position,
Type 4: sufferers do not show symptoms until they are 20 or 30 years old
“My mom and I face her, but when I talk to her I can tell she’s not really talkative, normally she’s so full of life and funny but I’ll say things to her and she doesn’t really respond.” It is because she is uncomfortable and very sick.
“She’s slept a lot but we’re trying to cheer her up. I just want her to come home. She’s not getting any better so it might take a while, but hopefully before Christmas.
Kelsey, who rose to fame on TOWIE in 2019, was forced to leave the family home so that she could continue working this year, while her sister Kennedy was sheltered from the virus.
“She would love to see us all”: The hardest part for Kelsey is the guilt of leaving Kennedy alone in the hospital because she knows her sister will miss the family
Despite the family’s painstaking efforts to protect the vulnerable Kennedy from illness, she was hospitalized with Covid last week.
“We really tried,” Kelsey continued.
“She hasn’t left the house since the first lockdown. I moved for three months because we were protecting her, no one was entering or leaving the house.
“For my mother and stepfather, staying at home for so long has been difficult. It drives you crazy. For Kennedy too, she must have been so bored.
“But after the lockdown was over we started going to the stores, so she could have grabbed it from anyone. She has such a weak immune system that she catches it all.
‘We really tried’: Despite the family’s painstaking efforts to protect the vulnerable Kennedy from illness, she was hospitalized with Covid last week and has now fallen ill with sepsis
Kelsey was just 12 when her sister was born and diagnosed with SMA, a disease that affects the central nervous system and skeletal muscle movements.
Kennedy had a twin brother Karter, who sadly passed away less than a year after his birth when Kelsey was a child.
Kelsey explained, “When I was a kid I didn’t really understand what was going on and it just became normal for me.
“Kennedy would be rushed to the hospital and stop breathing, as a child I look back and I’m so upset because I was so young to go through it all.
‘Loved it’: On TOWIE’s last series, Kelsey spoke about the struggles of being Kennedy’s sister and hosted a ping pong event to raise awareness about SMA
“It completely changed my life at home because the focus is on Kennedy 24/7, whereas when I was younger it was on me and we always dated as a family. . It’s difficult.’
On TOWIE’s latest series, Kelsey opened up about the struggles of being Kennedy’s sister and hosted a ping-pong event to raise awareness about SMA.
Kennedy even appeared in one episode, as Kelsey proudly showed co-stars Chloe, Demi and Frankie Sims a video of her brother.
She said: “Before I talked about my sister on the show, everyone thought I was normal and living a good life – that’s why you can’t judge a book by its cover.
“I loved it and she loved it too, she’s a huge fan of the show, she watches it every week. She was really happy to be a part of it. She thinks she’s more famous than me now!
Fundraising: In honor of Kennedy, Kelsey set up a Just Giving page related to Christmas Sweater Day, which you can find in her Instagram bio
In honor of Kennedy and to raise funds for other families who continue to fight against the SMA, Kelsey has set up an online Just Giving page with Christmas Jumper Day, which you can find on her Instagram bio or on the SMA UK website.
She said: “I’m doing a Christmas Jump Day fundraising for SMA UK.
“I have a page on my Instagram bio and people can click on it or go to the SMA UK charity and donate that way. So far I have raised £ 800.
If you would like to donate to SMA UK, please visit Kelsey’s Just Giving page by clicking here