The mother of a severely disabled young woman in Arbroath has spoken of her relief and pride after helping her daughter celebrate her 18th birthday in style.
Morgan Doyle was only expected to live until her early teens, but the Arbroath teenager has defied doctors’ expectations and, with a little help from mum Michelle Dunnill, dressed up as a princess to celebrate her big day.
Around 60 of her friends and family – alongside Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy – joined her for the Disney themed party in the town’s Portcullis on Sunday.
Michelle, Morgan’s full-time carer, said: “She absolutely loved it.
“She was shrieking with delight and I was trying to hold back the tears. She got very emotional when everybody sang happy birthday to her.”
Morgan, who cannot walk, talk or move her head, enjoyed the party ahead of her birthday on Tuesday November 19.
“She absolutely loves Disney,” said Michelle.
“We’ve been to Disneyland for dolphin therapy when she was younger and she loves all the characters.
“Her brother Shane dressed up as Prince Charming, I was Snow White and she was Princess Morgan.
“We played the original Disney theme music, the one they play with the fireworks display, and we had a cake shaped like a carriage. It was beautiful.”
Her father, Ronald Doyle, organised the disco and the party buffet.
Morgan was a healthy little girl until being hospitalised at the age of two and half. She rapidly descended from being a “little off colour” to becoming so unwell she “vomited blood”.
“We thought we’d lost her then,” said Michelle.
“She pulled through but were basically told there was no hope for her.”
She partially recovered and was later diagnosed with Leigh’s disease, a rare disorder that meant it was unlikely she would live much longer than 13 or 14.
But after passing that milestone, Michelle said doctors are no longer sure about her condition.
Michelle said they cannot completely rule out Leigh’s disease, but now say Morgan has a condition “with the similar symptoms to cerebral palsy” and are unable to be more precise than that.
Michelle said she never expected to see her daughter’s 18th birthday.
“It is a delight,” she said.
“Every day with her is precious and every birthday is a big celebration but with it being her 18th I wanted to make sure it was very special for her.”