Dales toddler is set for television debut

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A toddler from Darley Dale is set to make her television debut after crews from the BBC filmed her undergo and extremely rare brain operation.

Sophia Timmins will be one of three patients featured in a new documentary called ‘Brain Doctors’ which will be aired on BBC 2 in January 2013.

The reason why 19-month-old Sophia was asked to feature in the documentary is because she has Crouzon Syndrome – a rare genetic condition characterised by the premature fusion of bones in the skull and face, which limits the ability of the affected bone to grow and expand.

Owing to her condition, Sophia required highly specialist surgery at a hospital in Oxford.

Sophia’s mother, Rachael Thompson, said: “Before the operation, we received a call asking if the BBC could film Sophia’s surgery.

“I had to have a good think about whether to allow it or not. But as they assured us it would be handled sensitively, and as Crouzon Syndrome isn’t very well known about, I thought it would be a good thing to raise awareness.”

The operation, which is known as a major craniofacial, was filmed in July this year and took 11 hours to complete.

During surgery Sophia’s skull was completely removed re-shaped and put back together again.

Rachael said: “She now has large area of skull where there are pieces of bone floating – or no bone at all. The hope is that the bone will grow and fill in the holes again.

This was the first of a number of craniofacial operations that Sophia will have and she will be under the team at Oxford – the nearest hospital that offers treatment – until she reaches adulthood.