TV presenter Lucy Alexander has given a moving interview to HELLO! in which she reveals how her world fell apart when her young daughter was struck down by a rare neurological disease that, within an hour, left her paralysed and in a wheelchair.
Kitty, now ten, fell victim to little known disorder Transverse Myelitis, which caused the formerly sporty schoolgirl's immune system to attack her spinal cord, causing permanent damage.
Speaking at the family home in Surrey, Lucy, 42, who is married to former premiership footballer Stewart Castledine, 40, recalls how she'd taken Kitty to school as normal that fateful morning, in February 2010, only to receive a call an hour later to say something was terribly wrong.
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"When I arrived, Kitty's face was grey and she was sobbing in pain," recalls the Homes Under The Hammer host. "'Mummy, I'm scared,' she said. She told me that it felt as if someone had dropped a big metal anchor on her back."
Poignantly, Lucy still keeps the muddy school shoes Kitty wore on the day she took her last steps. Despite doctors' assurances that many victims of the condition recover, Kitty – who has a seven-year-old brother, Leo – remains paralysed. A role in last year's Paralympic closing ceremony has unearthed a new talent and Kitty has channelled the fighting spirit that saved her when she was in hospital, clinging to life after her lungs collapsed as she battled pneumonia, into a new ambition.
Dressed as a warrior princess at the helm of the pirate ship that sailed Rihanna into the Olympic Stadium, Kitty shone under the spotlight and, encouraged by her parents, she has recently won a prestigious drama scholarship.
"There are things I can't do any more, but I don't mind; I've found something else I love," says Kitty. "My ambition is to be the first actress in a wheelchair to win an Oscar."
For the full interview, see HELLO! magazine issue 1271, out now.
It's a little princess!