A PROUD mother from Beckingham has spoken out about her baby son’s battle with a rare condition.
Lauren Ledsham is a 22-year-old single mother. Her nine-month-old son Ollie was born with tracheo-oesophagael fistula – a potentially life-threatening condition.
TOF is rare congenital condition of the oesophagus and trachea where the bottom of the baby’s food pipe is joined to its windpipe. Only one in 3,500 babies are born with TOF. Without surgery, it can cause air to pass from the windpipe to the foodpipe and stomach and stomach acid into the windpipe.
Now, as Ollie overcomes adversity and bravely battles on, his mother Lauren wants to raise awareness of the condition and give hope to other parents who may be concerned. “He was only 24-hours-old when I found out,” said Lauren. “I was so scared. He just kept being sick every time we tried to give him milk and the midwives thought it was just a symptom if him swallowing some embryonic fluid, then after 24 hours they took him down to the special care baby ward.”
“They showed me the X-raysw and we could see something wasn’t right.”
Ollie was then taken to Sheffield Hospital where he immediately underwent six hours of surgery.
“I was just devastated and terrified,” she said.
“When I was pregnant nothing was picked up on the scans, he was a healthy weight, then all of a sudden he was in surgery and I thought he might die.”
“It’s a bit scary, but he often hiccups and chokes on things and they say that will happen for the rest of his life. He can’t eat bread, peas or anything that could get lodged in his throat, but he still has a great appetite and it’s difficult because I’m trying to give him a normal life.”
“He’s been a brilliant and brave little man who’s happy all the time. I’m very proud of him and he was definitely born a fighter.”
Lauren added: “I can’t thank the staff at Sheffield Hospital enough – they never let me lose hope. And TOFS are the only charity going for the condition and they’re really helpful. They’re not Government funded so rely on charitable donations to continue their work.”
For info or to donate to TOFS, you can visit www.tofs.org.uk or call 0115 9613092,