Brittany Rogers is doubly delighted this Christmas. Thursday was her 10th birthday and recently she was warmly accepted into the Pialba State School system.
Brittany Rogers is doubly delighted this Christmas. Thursday was her 10th birthday and recently she was warmly accepted into the Pialba State School system. Daniel Tweed

Brittany fights back after surgery

BRITTANY Rogers only wanted one present for Christmas and that was to be given the chance to go back to school.

Brittany, who turned 10 on Christmas Eve, has been battling major health issues for the past two years, problems which saw her entire bowel removed, leaving her with two colostomy bags.

That’s tough for any person to deal with but when it also means that schools refuse to accept you it can be heartbreaking, especially for a young girl.

While Brisbane schools turned her away her former school, Pialba State, opened its heart and its doors to her.

Brittany’s mother, Joan, said she couldn’t thank the staff at Pialba enough for taking her back in.

“In Brisbane it was just ignorance,” she said.

“They looked at Brittany and didn’t see a little girl; they saw a person with a bag and thought it was just too hard.

“It is a big thing accepting a child back into the system with a major condition and I just want to thank Pialba for all they have done.

“Putting up with all the days off, sending her homework home, they have been great.

“There has been a lot of shuffling around and they were the only school willing to help.”

Brittany said she was excited to go back to her old school because she has plenty of friends there.

To begin with she will only attend from 9am to 11am with the hope of extending those hours during the cooler months when she does not get as easily dehydrated; just one of her many symptoms.

A program will be put in place to help make Brittany’s schooling easier, including allowing her to have her own disability toilet and having a visiting stomal therapy nurse.

“Things are working out slowly for her,” said Joan. “We’re almost half way there; 2010 should be a better year than the last two.

“I just wanted to thank the school for everything.

“Getting her back to school is one step closer to getting our life back to normal.”

Brittany’s health problems first surfaced two years when she woke in the night screaming with acute pain. The family thought she had appendicitis but it turned out her large bowel was dying.

It was removed and Brittany underwent an ileostomy – where the small intestine is attached to the abdominal wall and digestive waste exits the body through an artificial opening known as a stoma.

The procedure meant Brittany could only attend school in small bouts and had to be partly home-schooled. It also meant the family had to sell their Hervey Bay home and move to Brisbane where Brittany could receive more regular treatment.

“When she had the ileostomy she nearly died on the operating table because she put herself in such great distress,” Joan said.

“A week later she had a severe blockage at the side of the stoma and was given 10 minutes to live.

“She’s been through something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.”

Over the following months Brittany slowly started recovering and was ready to go back to school.

The problem with the city, however, was no schools would accept her. Now, thanks to Pialba, she can get her new uniform ready for the first school term of 2010.



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