Thursday 23 May 2024
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Transplant patient three-year-old William heads home for Christmas – he turned the Christmas lights on at QMC!

The three-year-old transplant patient who switched on the Christmas tree lights at Queen’s Medical Centre has gone home – all set to switch on his own lights and countdown to Christmas.

And getting William home and well is the best Christmas present ever for parents Alice and Nigel.

“William is doing amazingly well,” said Alice. “He has never looked this healthy – he even has pink cheeks. He’s full of laughter and smiles and keeps pointing at his tummy and saying Mummy’s kidney made me better.”

William is more excited about Christmas than ever before.

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“He’s done his letter to Father Christmas – he’s asked for a new tractor and trailer, a new combine harvester, a new teleporter, paints, craft stuff, because we sit at the kitchen table and cover it in glitter – I have to hoover up an awful lot!” said Alice.

“He’s got some new Tractor Ted wellies – he saw them and said WOW!! So that was it, sneaked them into my bag.”

William was born with a kidney defect, and had his kidneys removed in September 2020, and was placed on dialysis.

After a period to allow his body to recover, Alice’s kidney was removed at City Hospital in the morning and transplanted into William at Queen’s the same day. Ten days later, the family headed home.

“The surgeon pretty much skipped in every day to see Nigel to give him the wonderful news because he’s so happy with all the results. William’s body has fully accepted my kidney, he’s on medication, but it’s all been a huge success.”

“He’ll be on medication for life, and supplements – but he won’t be on dialysis any more. He had to be on the machine for 11 hours a night. He wasn’t allowed baths, or sand, or mud, or anything that involves any nitty gritty, because he had a line in his tummy for his dialysis – we now get a lot more freedom because he’s no longer tied to a machine. We still say we need to set up the machine and then smile and remember it’s not necessary any more.

“He’s been very accommodating; the machine became part of life, but we didn’t want that life for him. A three-year-old should not be visiting hospitals – not unless it’s to welcome a new sibling, or because he’s fallen out of a tree and broken his arm.

“To start life in hospital and spend most of his time at different stages in hospital is not anything I would ever choose for a child.”

Alice stayed in a hotel while Nigel stayed on the ward with William. She recovered a lot quicker from her surgery than expected, although she can’t lift William for six weeks.

“He just wants a cuddle,” said Alice, with a huge sigh. “It’s going to be really hard. I just want to scoop him up.”

“He’s very aware of Father Christmas this year – he wants to make sure we have carrots and apples for the reindeers and I’ve got to put a bucket of water out, because they have to drink. Because William has to drink, so Father Christmas and the reindeer have to drink.

“We’re making cookies and putting out a glass of milk – we’re putting them where William sits at the table so Father Christmas knows they’re from him. We’re all really excited for Christmas.”

Alice paid tribute to all the staff who’ve been involved in her and William’s care, and to the Estates staff – in particular Mike Soroka – for organising the switch-on. “We were so honoured. They came onto the ward and asked and William was like YESSS!! He gathered all his cuddly toys up and was like, let’s go. We were like, no, not today – tomorrow! He was so excited!”

“The staff on E17 have been amazing. I can’t thank them enough. Because I haven’t been able to be with him, it’s been very hard – heart strings being pulled an awful lot. And they’ve really helped Nigel – anything he needs, they are on it.

“We want to be able to tell people how grateful we are for both hospitals coming together and giving me the chance to give my kidney to my son and make his life so much better – it’s just so fantastic and we can never thank anyone enough for it.

“We did it – we did it,” said Alice. “It’s a fantastic feeling that it is done, and we’re all out other side – and we’re all ok – everything is fantastic.”

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