Two South Lakeland youngsters are set to enjoy their best Christmas ever. Reporters Anna Clarke and Toni Guillot met the children and their parents
Klayton Wilson will spend an illness-free Christmas at home after becoming the first person to be cured of a rare form of anaemia through a bone marrow transplant.
The parents of the four-year-old Flookburgh boy said he was ‘extremely excited’ about a visit from Santa Claus after being given the all-clear from doctors at Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Klayton suffered from sideroblastic anaemia – a condition so rare it affects only one other person in the UK and 12 worldwide.
The condition saw his bone marrow not making enough red blood cells to provide oxygen to tissues. His bone marrow cells were unable to absorb iron correctly, causing it to build up and overload his body.
Klayton was diagnosed with the condition at just nine-weeks-old and was repeatedly hospitalised for the first two years of his life.
He suffered with intermittent episodes of fever and illness, low blood levels and inflammatory flare-ups requiring monthly blood transfusions and antibiotics.
It was not until Klayton was transferred to haematologist consultant Dr Rob Wynn at Manchester Children’s Hospital that a bone marrow biopsy detected the condition and he was added to the transplant register.
Klayton’s mum Emma, 31, of Jutland Avenue said a transplant was the only option.
“A combination of fear and worry came over us when we found out he needed a transplant,” said Mrs Wilson.
“I think it was the realisation that at any given moment your child can be taken away from you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It happened very quickly but we knew it was our only option to improve Klayton’s quality of life, and we are fortunate enough to say it worked for him.
“The expertise of Dr Wynn and his team was incredible. His enthusiasm gave us confidence to be positive and it really did help us through. I truly believe he wouldn’t be with us today without them.”
Klayton was later diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa – a condition which is likely to lead to blindness. He was registered visually impaired when he was two-and-a-half.
He also suffers from glue ear in both ears – causing him difficulties when communicating with people.
But nothing discourages Klayton – who had just four sessions at playgroup before starting nursery. He is now in full-time reception class at Flookburgh Primary School.
Despite his condition, Klayton keeps on smiling and has asked Santa for a tractor to add to his expanding collection of cars and trucks.
“He is the happiest child in the world,” said joiner dad Steven, 44. “He has a cheeky personality and takes everything in his stride. He never stops smiling – as soon as I saw him smile for the first time after his transplant I knew he was going to get through it, and he did.”
Klayton is making a steady recovery and is looking forward to his fifth brithday in the New Year.
A YOUNG girl unable to walk or talk because of a debilitating condition has been given the ultimate Christmas present.
Kendal’s Bethany Close, who suffers potentially life-threatening Rett Syndrome, has been ‘communicating in smiles’ since a trip-of-a-lifetime to Florida, thanks to a charity which provides holidays for seriously ill youngsters.
“Other people have nice things in life but when you’ve got a poorly child it’s not about possessions,” said the seven-year-old’s mum, Tracey Close.
“It’s about the times you spend together as a family.
“It’s also hard when you have a child who expresses herself through noises because sometimes you can feel a bit judged when she’s being loud.
“So this trip was perfect because we could just relax and Bethany could be as loud as she liked.
“It was the perfect Christmas present for all of us.”
The family were treated to the all-expenses-paid week by charity, Caudwell Children.
Mrs Close explained that she applied for a place on the trip with the charity last year, and during the summer the trio were told they would join 24 other families from across the UK for a Christmas holiday at a resort for disabled children.
The trip cost £7,000 per family and included days out at Disneyworld, Seaworld, Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios.
“We never thought we’d get to have a holiday like that,” continued Mrs Close, who works as a dental receptionist in Kendal.
“Apart from the money, it would have been too hard to organise and actually do, because of all the help we’d need for Bethany. But the charity had thought of everything, from putting paramedics on the plane to getting someone to push her buggy so we could walk ahead of her and see her smiling face.
“It was just the most wonderful trip.”
The youngster, who attends Sandgate School four days a week, was diagnosed with the rare, genetic condition at 14 months.
Rett Syndrome, which can eventually cause seizures, heart attack and sudden death, caused her development to halt, and then reverse, and eventually she lost movement and the ability to speak.
Because of her poor muscle tone she has lost the use of her hands and cannot perform tasks other children take for granted, such as walking, talking or playing with toys.
Now the family are back at their Applerigg home for Christmas.
But Caudwell Children, based in Stoke-on-Trent, needs donations if it is to offer trips to more families in 2014.
Anybody who can donate is asked to visit www.caudwellchildren.com