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Super Ted is home after his life-saving transplant.. but now someone's missing! Brother's chicken pox robs tot of a perfect homecoming.

Byline: DAVE ROBSON

HE'S home - but he's missing his brother!

Heart transplant baby Ted Parks is back on Teesside, a month after the operation which was his only hope.

Looking at him smiling and resting his head on the shoulders of his mum and dad, it's hard to believe the ordeal he's been through.

But while mum Kay and dad Stephen are thrilled beyond words to have him back home in Normanby, they know their family will only be truly complete once their other son, Tom, is with them. Just after Christmas, Tom, four, came down with chicken pox. So when "Super" Ted arrived back from Newcastle's Freeman Hospital on New Year's Eve, new heart beating soundly, Tom had to be kept away in case of infection.

It's hoped Tom, who's been staying with grandparents, will be able to come home soon.

And rest assured, Ted will be waiting to resume the fun he used to enjoy with his big brother.

Kay smiled: "Tom has seen all the coverage about Ted, so we have to call him 'Super Tom' now.

"It's been fantastic to have Ted home but it will be even better once Tom's back with us too."

Now weighing a healthy 14lb 10oz, seven-month-old Ted, who is sleeping "really well" at the moment, needs medication nine times a day.

And for the rest of his life, he must also take anti-rejection drugs.

But without the December 8 transplant at the Freeman - whose staff continue to support the family and where Ted visits weekly for checks - his future was bleak, with only a Berlin heart machine keeping him alive.

Kay said: "In the first couple of days after getting him home, we were just getting used to having a baby again and thinking of things like teething and nappy changing, rather than the huge transplant stuff.

"A few weeks ago, it felt like we had so much worry ahead of us but since he's had the transplant, time has flown. I think he seems a bit more relaxed at home than in hospital, where he was wary that people would keep doing things to him."

Stephen said: "You can't look too far ahead - you just take each day as it comes. But the staff at the Freeman are delighted with his progress and it's just great to have him back with us, looking so happy and healthy.

"He rarely stops smiling - he's a happy little baby who takes everything in his stride. We look at him and can't believe what he's been through."

And while Kay and Stephen get used to having Ted back with them again and prepare for Tom's return -"that's when the fun will really begin," laughs Kay - they took time to thank everyone on Teesside and Tyneside who has helped.

Kay said: "Obviously we can't thank the Freeman enough, but the people around here have been unbelievable too.

"We've had cards sent to us from complete strangers, wishing us well, and Stephen's old workmates at the Ensus plant, even though most don't know us from Adam and some of which were getting finished, were so generous, ensuring we could keep going up and down to Newcastle.

Stephen added: "We can't thank anyone enough. We can't name names because so many people have helped us. And we know lots of family and friends who have joined the National Organ Donor Register because of Ted.

"When all this began, the staff at the Freeman told us it would be an emotional rollercoaster and they were exactly right."

* Join the organ donor register online at www.uktransplant.org.uk or call the NHS donor line on 0300 123 23 23 or text SAVE to 84118.

CAPTION(S):

CUDDLES: Ted nestles into mum Kay, left. The pictures above were taken during Ted's stay in hospital with his parents and brother by his bed BIG BRO: Tom Parks, above, aged four
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 6, 2010
Words:651
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