An 11-years-old boy who spent the first four years of his life in and out of hospital, has raised almost £2,000 to sponsor two beds for the parents of sick children in Altnagelvin Hospital.
Shayne O’Carolan was a ‘very sick baby’ who spent a huge amount of time as an inpatient on the children’s ward.
Mum Shauna explained that Shayne was something of a medical mystery for the first four years of his life.
“He couldn’t tolerate any feeding at all from the age of six weeks old. He was losing so much weight and they inserted an NG tube and he had to be fed that way until he was four.
“At the time doctors were baffled and couldn’t understand why. All the tests they did were coming back clear.”
Shayne has since been diagnosed with Dyspraxia, a developmental co-ordination disorder.
“The more I look into it now, the more it makes sense. We spent the first four years of Shayne’s life in and out of the Children’s Ward,” she noted.
“He would have been in for month or two at a time. Sometimes he would have been so poorly he got transferred to the C hildren’s Hospital in the Royal because he wasn’t tolerating the pump feeds and he would have got constant infections.”
Shauna said the hospital admissions were very stressful for their family.
“We spent many nights on those pull out beds in Altnagelvin and then far away from home in Belfast and at one stage in Birmingham.”
Shayne, who also has a severe nut allergy, began to see a speech therapist and other specialists and started to tolerate small amounts of food.
Although he still overcomes many struggles on a daily basis, he is now keeping well and is a pupil in the Learning Development Unit of the Model Primary School.
“Shayne doesn’t really remember being in and out of hospital. We talk to him all the time about how sick he was and when he heard about the campaign to raise money for beds for parents of sick children it was really important to him to give something back.”
In total, he raised £1,800 enough to sponsor two beds thanks to an online fundraising page, sponsor forms and raffle tickets.
Shauna said the family is‘so proud’ of Shayne because he worked so hard to raise the money.
Shayne told the ‘Journal’ he was ‘really excited’ that parents are going to be sleeping in a bed with his name on it.
He added that he is looking forward to getting back onto the ward during a special event for all those who sponsored the beds which will be held in the near future.