A LITTLE boy born with a rare medical condition has finally been given a new heart.
Six-year-old Oliver Harrison, from Oswestry, has suffered five long years of uncertainty and ill health after he was born with only half a working heart.
But following a recent transplant he has just taken part in his school nativity and his future is looking much brighter.
Mum, Emma, said his new heart was the best Christmas present she could have wished for.
“To see him singing in the Nativity was just incredible. It was something we thought we might never see.”
Back in August, Oliver’s health deteriorated rapidly and doctors predicted he would have to be moved in to hospital after Christmas.
Following one particularly tough day, Emma went to bed wondering whether her child would survive.
But just after 3am the following morning she and her husband, Adam, received a call to say there might be a suitable heart donor for Oliver.
The family were collected by ambulance within an hour and whisked off to Manchester Airport where they flew in a private jet up to a specialist heart unit at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
After numerous tests and a tense wait, Emma and Adam received the news they doubted they would ever hear – the heart was a match.
Oliver underwent a 10-hour operation before spending 48 hours in a critical condition followed by a period in isolation.
Emma, shop owner at Lawrence Direct newsagents in Church Street, Oswestry, said: “For the first time ever we looked at him and felt that he had been mended instead of just patched up.
“He looked pink instead of blue.”
But Oliver was not blessed with a smooth recovery.
The little boy who had already undergone more than his fair share of operations and aggressive treatment now faced an even bigger battle – his body fell into acute rejection.
“We thought we could lose him,” Emma admitted.
“I was out of my mind with worry.
“It was awful to see our gorgeous son ebbing away,” she added.
But with time, Oliver’s strong little body fought back and he was discharged from hospital, his weekly check-ups have dropped to fortnightly and he has been able to settle back into his life in Oswestry with his parents and little brother, Harry, three.
Emma paid tribute to the medical team that cared for Oliver and the support they have received from friends, family and the wider community.
“Everybody’s been absolutely amazing.
“The care we’ve had has been second to none and we’re incredibly grateful for that.
“I can’t help but get emotional when I think of the family of the donor though, that they thought of us when they were going through the deepest depths of despair.”
“It was just the best Christmas present ever,” she added.
l Now Emma, who is fundraising for the hospital which gave her son a fresh start in life, is urging other families to give the greatest gift by signing up to the organ donor register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 123 23 23.
To donate to Chuf, the charity which supports the Newcastle hospital’s heart unit, visit www.chuf.org.uk