A BRAVE 15-month-old toddler from Sutton who has needed to be resuscitated at least 10 times by his parents is showing signs of winning his battle against a rare condition.
Thys Bell was born with signs of Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) - a condition that affects one in every 3,500 babies.
He was rushed straight into surgery because he was unable to clear his throat. There were also problems with his kidneys and he was unable to get rid of carbon monoxide from his body.
Mum Emma did not get to see him until about six hours after giving birth but there were further complications and a second operation was required.
In total, Thys spent two-and-a-half weeks in the neo-natal unit which meant he didn’t get to meet his grandfather who died from lung cancer during that time.
After taking Thys home, Emma and husband Michael’s real difficulties began.
The condition means the muscles in his throat do not work properly, food can get stuck and Thys’ airways can collapse. Food goes down due to gravity rather than swallowing.
Emma (31) and Michael (33), of Willowbridge Lane, have had to perform CPR on their son a number of times and he has been in and out of hospital for operations all his life.
Emma said: “Since we brought him home he has stopped breathing at least 10 times. Each time he is unconscious, blue, not breathing and completely lifeless.
“We have to call for an ambulance, perform CPR and try to clear his airways.
“Sometimes it works straight away and he is fine by the time the paramedics arrive, other times he is still unconscious when he gets to the hospital.”
The couple were given training from staff at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham and have been given help and support from the TOFS charity.
“It doesn’t prepare you for the shock and emotions of it all. It is just as scary every time,” Emma added.
“It has been difficult because we can’t really relax and go out and we need to always keep an eye on him.
“But the last time he was in hospital was in March so this is his longest period of not going to hospital so far.
“He needs an operation in May but hopefully he will have to go to hospital less and less now.
“As he gets older the oesophagus gets stronger but it is something he will have to live with all his life.”
Emma and Michael are holding a fundraising event next month as a way of saying thank you the QMC and TOFS.
“The QMC have been brilliant,” Emma said. “They have educated us about the condtion and given us help and support all the way through. Some children spend years there so it would be good to help them buy some more toys. They do so much but there’s a lot more they could do too.
“TOFS have been a godsend because we get to speak with other parents in similar circumstances which keeps us sane.
“The Paper Moon nursery have been great with him too, they have really adapted to his condition and helped with all the medication he needs to take very day.”
The event is at The Towers, on Botany Drive, Mansfield, on 2nd June.
There will be a table-top sale during the day and a Motown disco in the evening.
Money raised from ticket sales and the hire fee for the tables will be split between the QMC and TOFS.
For tickets or to hire a table contact Emma on 07956 647105 or her sister Lisa Heaton on 07792 814125.