My baby's 25 heart attacks in 24 hours; FAMILY'S JOY AS BATTLER THEO SURVIVES AGAINST ALL THE ODDS; EXCLUSIVE.
LITTLE Theo Fry's big wide eyes simply sparkle with the sheer joy of life.
But behind them, and that cheeky grin, lies a story of miraculous strength and defiance in the face of death. Because at nine months old plucky Theo survived an incredible TWENTY-FIVE heart attacks in 24 hours - thought to be the most ever seen by UK medics in one person in one day.
His fight for life had begun at eight days old - and before his first birthday he had fought off total of 30 cardiac arrests, had 17 operations - two of them major open heart surgery - and beat deadly blood poisoning.
Now at 19 months, this little warrior is finally going from strength to strength under the gaze of loving parents who have been to hell and back.
"Everyone expected Theo to die," says mum Fauve Syers. "Now he has such a zest for life. It is truly a miracle" Fauve and her partner Steven Fry's ordeal began when Theo was just over a week old in May, 2017.
"He suddenly seemed really sleepy, then started turning blue, then grey" says Fauve, 30.
The worried mum rang the NHS helpline and their baby was blue-lighted to Salford Royal Hospital where a team of 40 medics were waiting.
But Theo's condition left them baffled. "They told us 'we don't know what's wrong. We just know he's totally critical'," says Fauve, 30."
Fauve and Steven, 35, were told their son had heart failure and would die without surgery. "I went into shock," says Fauve. "My vision went. It was the most frightening stress I've felt."
Theo was rushed to children's hospital Alder Hey, in Liverpool. "His heart rate was through the roof, his blood pressure ridiculous," says Fauve. "But the doctors managed to stabilise him. Four days later he had his first open heart surgery."
Theo was diagnosed with an interrupted aortic arch, which meant his heart - which also had two holes in it - couldn't pump blood around his body.
Steven, 35, recalls: "We were told if we hadn't called 111 that night, Theo wouldn't have woken up next morning."
The baby even survived a heart attack in theatre as surgeons fought to save him.
He spent three months in Alder Hey, having another cardiac arrest and contracting sepsis - yet he battled through and was sent home in July 2017.
Picture: But after months of arrhythmias - when the heart rate shoots up to dangerous levels - he was back in hospital. "He was supposed to be in for 24 hours of monitoring," says Fauve, an occupational therapist. "But he didn't come home for six months."
On December 21, he had another huge heart attack.
"His heart stopped for 12 minutes and they struggled to resuscitate him, says Fauve. "He spent Christmas in intensive care, fighting for every breath."
Theo endured two more heart attacks. Then came the fateful night - January 31 2018 - that almost ended his short life.
"He had 25 cardiac arrests in 24 hours," says Fauve. "It was horrific. He was having attack after attack. I knew he couldn't take much more. Every time it happened, nurses would buzz for the arrest team. He had the most buzzers pressed overnight in intensive care anyone can remember.
"I watched the resus team working on him with every chest compression, thinking, 'Oh my god, please don't let this be his last breath'."
Next morning Theo's surgeon Dr Ramana Dhannapuneni, decided to operate. "He said he might not survive surgery, but if they didn't do it that day, he'd die anyway," says Fauve.
She and Steven faced a 10-hour wait as the op went ahead - then they got the news they longed for. "Theo had pulled through," says Steven. "And he'd made an instant recovery."
Dr Ramana found Theo's left ventricle was covered in scar tissue, stopping it working. "Once they opened it up and doubled its size, Theo's body came alive again," says Fauve.
"In two days, he was out of ICU. Not long after that we took him home."
A year on, Theo is bursting with health. "Everyone who sees him says how happy he is," says Fauve. "It's incredible what he's been through. He's so strong."
In the last year, Fauve and Steven, who also have daughter Leila, eight, have been working to give something back with other Alder Hey families known as Team 1C after the children's heart ward.
They are fundraising for Healing Little Hearts - a UK charity that flies NHS surgical teams to poor countries OP 2 astonishing recovery to operate on children who would otherwise die. So far their efforts have saved 100 youngsters worldwide.
"Babies in developing countries don't have the second chance at life that Theo did," says Steven. "We wanted to help save their lives, just like our wonderful doctors saved Theo's."
To donate to Healing Little Hearts, please go to www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/team1c2019
I watched thinking 'don't let this be his last breath' MUM FAUVE ON SEEING DOCS WORKING ON THEO
BEFORE ORDEAL Fauve with Theo
SO HAPPY Fauve, Steven and big sister Leila with Theo
13 days old Worst was yet to come for Theo
after op 1 He had a heart attack in surgery
AFTER OP 2 Theo made astonishing recovery
After his final surgery little Theo's bursting with health NOW