TOWIE: Kelsey's sister's SMA journey - from a difficult childhood to her 8th birthday

The Only Way Is Essex raised awareness of a genetic condition as cast member Kelsey Stratford shed tears when telling the story of her siblings.

Its most recent episode (Sunday September 27th), Kelsey opened up about the condition that has affected her sister Kennedy and brother Karter, which is called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

The TOWIE star aimed to raise awareness of her siblings’ condition in a bid to educate viewers about it. Fans of the ITV show wanted to know more about Kelsey’s siblings’ condition, especially her sister Kennedy’s as doctors told the Stratford family that she would only live for a few months.

Screenshot: Kelsey Stratford, Episode 5 Series 26, TOWIE, ITV

What is Kelsey’s sister’s condition?

  • Spinal muscular atrophy

The genetic condition makes muscles weak and causes problems with movement. It’s serious and can become worse over time, however it can be treated.

SMA cannot be cured but research is currently being carried out to find new treatments.

Kelsey’s sister Kennedy is paralysed from the neck down, remains in an adaptive stroller and requires 24-hour care. Kelsey and her mum usually look after Kennedy.

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Kelsey’s family journey

Doctor’s told Kelsey’s family that Kennedy would only live for up to 18 months, however she has just celebrated her 8th birthday.

Kelsey also had a brother called Karter who had SMA, who passed away at 4 months old. She has been caring for her sister Kennedy since she was 12 years old, alongside her mum.

The TOWIE cast member couldn’t leave the front door for three months during lockdown because her sister is vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Kelsey opens up about her family life

The TOWIE star opened up about her siblings’ journey on the most recent episode of the show.

She was reduced to tears after speaking of her “traumatic” home life, as she prepares to move out and look for a place to live with co-star Ella Wise.

Kelsey said it has been six months since she kissed Kennedy due to coronavirus. She continued:


Since I was 12, I’ve basically cared for her. I’ve helped my mum, especially in lockdown it was really hard for us. It paralyses her from the neck down but her brain is completely normal, like how funny is she.

She began crying after telling her siblings’ story. Since then, many viewers have praised the TOWIE star for being “inspirational” and brave by raising awareness of SMA.



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