A baby boy whose future looked uncertain has finally undergone life-saving surgery on his fragile heart.
Parents Lydia and Tim Cameron and their now healthy baby boy Oliver arrived back home from hospital in America just before Christmas after months of fundraising to give the near one-year-old the best chance of survival.
Shortly after the tot was born last January, the couple from Wantage were told he had a rare heart tumour, which brought on episodes of dangerous and irregular heartbeats.
They were dealt another blow when told the NHS did not have the capacity or specialist knowledge to carry out surgery to treat the ‘exceptionally rare condition’ and that Oliver’s best chance of survival was surgery in Boston.
More determined than ever, his parents decided to take it upon themselves to raise the money needed – £150,000 – to make sure their son received the treatment he needed.
Speaking about their first proper Christmas together, Lydia said: “We obviously never expected to be home for Christmas so it was so special to be able to spend his first Christmas at home with our family. The best present we ever could have hoped for.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who has donated and supported us and to his consultants at the JR and in Southampton. We are so grateful to the surgeon and his team in Boston as without them Oliver wouldn’t have a chance at a full and happy life.”
In the last year, the couple spent their time in and out of hospital – and when they were at home, they spent most of their time tracking Oliver’s heartbeat day and night, in the hope that his heart remained stable.
As if that was not enough, they ran a huge fundraising campaign, reaching out to local news outlets, and hosting anything from a car wash to charity golf tournaments.
In August, Lydia and Tim got a welcome boost from the NHS who agreed to fund part of the treatment.
At the time, an NHS England spokesman said: “There is not currently a surgical service in the UK with experience of treating this and we have therefore agreed to fund Oliver’s treatment abroad.
“We have also determined that a clinical policy is required for service access and will explore whether a service in the UK is appropriate considering the small number of patients.”
They added that the number of patients with the extremely rare condition, called cardiac fibroma, is estimated to be in single figures nationally.