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Stonehouse Girl Loses Voice
A 16-year-old girl was without a voice for over a year but still managed to sit her exams – including a Spanish speaking test.
Cara Noon from Stonehouse woke up on March 13 last year unable to speak and is only starting to recover.
Her mum Jillian Storrie credits their family doctor Kevin McAlpine, from Strathaven Medical Centre, for kick-starting her recovery and has set up a fundraiser in his name, for a medical research charity, to say thank you.
Cara has essentially been without a voice for 65 weeks, after a urine infection – the impact of it on her system and the antibiotics used to treat it – affected her vocal chords.
She has just finished her National 5 exams at Strathaven Academy.
As her loss of speech was not classed as a disability she still had to sit the spoken part of her Spanish examination.
A tape recording normally taken of the test was not possible as Cara’s strained speech was too quiet for the tape to pick up.
Instead she had to perform the test in front of a witness along with the normal examiner.
Her mum Jillian Storrie says the whole experience has been awful for Cara. She said: “To lose your voice for 65 weeks is horrific.”
The teenager’s social life has also suffered as a result.
But her mum hopes she will make a full recovery by the time school restarts in August.
Jillian said: “She hasn’t been out much at all. She went out a couple of times and came back really upset because she can’t participate in the conversation.
“It’s very hard work for us in the house, and in a social environment nobody can hear her.
“We’re getting a couple of words from her now. She’s getting speech therapy to try and build the muscles back up.”
Although the experience has been terrible for Cara, Jillian says it would have been worse had their family doctor not went out of his way to make sure she got vital treatment.
After losing her voice, Cara was hit multiple times with tonsillitis. This made it even more difficult and painful for her to speak.
Jillian felt her pleas to experts for Cara to have her tonsils out were falling on deaf ears. But then their GP, Dr McAlpine and his colleague Dr Usman Rehman, arranged for her to see a specialist in Glasgow, which falls under a different health board.
This second opinion was what was needed and Cara had her tonsils out in April, meaning her speech therapy was a lot less painful
Jillian says it was the efforts of Dr McAlpine that helped start Cara’s recovery and get her to the point where she could make an attempt at her Spanish speaking exam.
Dr McAlpine has himself been hit with ill health and has been treated for a neuroendocrine tumour. He is leaving Strathaven Medical Centre for a job in Motherwell and as a thank you and a farewell, Jillian has set up a Just Giving page in aid of the Net Patient Foundation, which helps those affected by neuroendocrine tumours and also raises funds for research.
Anyone wanting to donate can do so at www.justgiving.com/Jillian-Storrie. Staff at Strathaven Medical Centre can also accept donations.