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My little miracle; CHILD OF COuRAgE Mum pays tribute to 10-year-old Aaron, who has made an amazing recovery after receiving revolutionary 'heart in a box' transplant.

Byline: Aaron Hunter

Schoolboy who has faced battles to sumvive since bimth now has a new lease of life thanks to the womld's fimst 'heamt in a box' tmansplant on a child.

AARON, 10, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning he had only half a heart. He underwent his first life-saving surgery just hours after he was born. Mum Stephanie says: "It was touch and go he would survive. I was offered the choice of surgery or to take him home to die. It was that risky."

" Further surgery followed, but an operation when he was three failed and he sufered a stroke that left him partially paralysed and in intensive care for five months.

TRIBuTE: mautin

Doctors said Aaron was unlikely to survive another year, and even after he passed that milestone, Stephanie feared he would be one of the 25% of children on the transplant list who die before a new heart can be found. "You read of kids dying on the list and you worry your kid might be one of those."

" In 2018, a suitable heart was found for Aaron, but Stephanie had another dfficult choice to make.

The organ had been kept pumping outside a human body in a pioneering 'heart in a box' procedure. A UK programme to use it on adults began at Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge in 2015, but Aaron would be the first child anywhere in the world to undergo this new type of transplant and Stephanie had to sign a consent form to allow the operation to take place.

The surgery was a success, and today Aaron is a boy transformed.

Stephanie, from Bo'ness near Edinburgh, says: "The kid they thought wouldn't survive 24 hours is now playing football, going to school, can walk for miles and even climbs mountains..."

Clunes

She adds: "I am overwhelmed Aaron has won a Pride of Scotland award. It means so much that he has been recognised for being brave. I want to thank all those who nominated him as well as everyone involved in his care. After everything he has been through, he really is one of the nicest, kindest boys and my little miracle."

" Little Aaron was left speechless when he received his award from DJ George Bowie.The GBX presenter and Clyde 1 DJ told the audience: "Aaron is an incredible inspiration to other kids. He has shown remarkable courage and come through so much."

Martin Clunes and Steven Gerrard also surprised Aaron with messages of support after they heard he was a fan of both. Ibrox boss, and former England star, Steven said: "Congratulations on receiving your Child of Courage Award, despite everything you have been through, you have always shown incredible strength and bravery," before adding: "You are an inspiration to us all mate, well done."

" And Martin said: "You really are a superstar. I can't believe, what with all the doctors you have met, you like watching another on telly. But I am glad that you do."" he Doc Martin legend went on to invite Aaron on set when they are shooting the last series next year.

After the show, Aaron said: "This is the best night ever. I can't wait to show my Nana the trophy and George has promised to play a GBX tune for me on his show."

The kid they thought wouldn't survive 24 hours is now playing football, going to school, can walk for miles and even climbs mountains... Aaron's mum Stephanie

CAPTION(S):

TRIBuTE: mautin Clunes

comEBAcK Kid: Aaron defied the odds to become a happy, active youngster

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Author:Aaron Hunter
Publication:Dumfries and Galloway Standard (Dumfriesshire, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 30, 2021
Words:597
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