HOPES are high that baby Zayne will join his family in time for Christmas thanks to the support of Cliffe Hill Community Primary School.
Fourteen-month-old Zayne Wheeler has come through a series of life saving heart operations and now helped by the local community it looks as if he will be home to his parents, Matthew and Tamsyn, for Christmas.
The couple, of Deep Lane, Clifton, has been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of parents, staff and friends at the Lightcliffe school who have raised £620 with a raffle. The money will fund a specially adapted cot which will cater for Zayne’s needs so he can be released from Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax.
When Zayne was born he was diagnosed with transposition of great arteries (a heart defect), ventricular septal defect (a hole in the heart) and narrowing of the aorta.
At just three weeks old he had to undergo major heart surgery, a procedure doctors didn’t expect him to survive because he was battling a lung infection and pneumonia.
The surgery was only a temporary fix until Zayne was well enough but he was allowed home at seven-weeks old.
“We were put on a waiting list for his second operation and everything seemed to be perfect until he got a cold at the beginning of March this year,” said Tamsyn.
Zayne took a turn for the worst and was rushed to theatre for a second time. Again Zayne defied the odds and survived.
But joy quickly turned to despair for the family when doctors said Zayne had to be fitted with a tracheotomy because he had a condition described as “floppy airways”.
Matthew and Tamsyn have had to learn how to care for Zayne and he was allowed home for a few hours on August 1 for his first birthday so he could spend time with his parents, and two older brother, Danyal, eight, and Tobias, six.
While battling the heart condition Zayne was diagnosed with vocal cord palsy on the left side, a condition they have put down to being incubated. This means that the only time he has cried or made any kind of noise is in the first few weeks of his life.
An MRI scan also revealed that the youngster had had a massive stroke when he was weeks old and he has celebral palsy, to what extent is still unknown.
But there is now light at the end of the tunnel and the family is making plans to bring their little boy home.
The money raised from Cliffe Hill, where Zayne’s two older brothers attend, will fund a temporary cot while they apply for funding from Calderdale Royal.
Tamsyn said the cot will cost in the region of £4,000 because it needs to have adjustable sides to cater for Zayne’s needs. “If the funding is approved the cot is made to order so it meant missing out for Christmas. We were determined that this was not going to happen and the school stepped in to help,” said Tamsyn.
Friends Sophie Treadgold and Shelley Walton were so touched by the family’s story they approached head, Lindsay Lomas, to organise the raffle.
Parents went to great lengths to support them especially Stephen Milner whose company Vdotcom donated a 40inch flat-screen TV and camcorder for the raffle. His company also bought £68 worth of raffle tickets but requested that they were not entered into the draw.
Matthew said they really appreciated what the school had done. “There are people that have had it worse than us. It is hard and just to get that little bit of support from the school is fantastic,” he said. “Everyone at Cliffe Hill has been so understanding and amazing. Even some of the teachers’ partners have offered to do fun runs.”
Tamsyn added: “They are amazing, everyone at the school has a heart of gold.”
Mrs Lomas said it was a tearful event. “A parent summed Cliffe Hill up when she said Cliffe Hill is more than a school, it is a community,” she said. “I think everyone was moved on Friday when they realised just what a difference they had made by supporting the family. Many thanks to all those who donated prizes and sold tickets.
“Thanks also go to Mr Milner for providing us with such fantastic prizes. We are looking forward to seeing so much more of Zayne, and of course preparing him for his start in nursery.”
It is thought Zayne will need to be on ventilation for the next two years. His parents said they don’t know what the future will bring or if he will crawl or make any kind of noise. “But he is a little fighter. Look at how much he has come through,” said Tamsyn.