Joey in hospital shortly after he was born (Picture: Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity/ SWNS)
A brave little boy who had brain tumour surgery at just 12 days old has turned on the festive lights at the hospital that saved his life.
Shortly after he was born, Joey Sharp had two life-saving procedures to remove a growth on his brain – before undergoing six months of chemotherapy and receiving the all-clear.
But this week – almost one year on – Joey was invited back to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, in Edinburgh, to turn on the Christmas lights.
The youngster was accompanied to the big switch on by parents Sam and Steven, as well as his three-year-old sister Carly – which took place on November 28.
Baby Joey was diagnosed with a brain tumour (Picture: Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity/ SWNS)
The family were in hospital over the festive season (Picture: Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity/ SWNS)
Mum-of-two Sam said her world was ‘shattered’ last December when Joey was diagnosed with a brain tumour – and she was told her baby needed two different surgeries before Christmas.
Thankfully, everything went well and doctors were able to remove 98% of the tumour.
Sam said: ‘Our little Joey was only 12 days old when he had emergency surgery in December last year.
‘We were told to prepare for the worst, our world had shattered.
‘I had been making Christmas lists, buying presents and organising family fun. Suddenly, it all seemed hopeless.
‘After eight agonising hours, 50% of the tumour was removed. But Joey was still seriously ill and needed a second operation.
‘The days passed in a blur as we sat by his side in Intensive Care. Two days before Christmas, he had his second brain surgery.
‘This time, they removed 98% of the tumour, but we still had a way to go.’
Joey with his big sister Carly (Picture: Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity/ SWNS)
He then needed chemotherapy after the procedures (Picture: Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity/ SWNS)
After receiving six months of chemotherapy, Joey was given the all-clear on July 27 – but still has regular visits for scans and check ups.
Now the youngster is 11 months old and is growing stronger every day.
The Sharp family are thanking Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) for helping them during the difficult time.
Sam added: ‘Throughout our time in hospital, ECHC was there for us at every turn, supporting us on the ward when none of our family or friends could visit.
‘Without doubt, the support from ECHC made a huge difference to his recovery and our first memories as a family so it was wonderful to have him be the first to switch on the Christmas lights for the charity at the new hospital.’
The family were invited to switch on the hospital’s lights (Picture: Oliver Benton/Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity/SWNS)
The Sharp family at the event (Picture: Oliver Benton/Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity/SWNS)
Joey is now 11 months old and is growing stronger every day (Picture: Oliver Benton/Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity/SWNS)
Earlier this week, children, families and staff gathered at the hospital entrance to watch Joey light up the giant Christmas tree – which was gifted by Conifox Adventure Park.
Victoria Buchanan, from ECHC, said: ‘We would like to say an enormous thank you to Joey and his family for helping to make our first ever Christmas Light Switch On at the new hospital so special.
‘Every year, ECHC makes Christmas magical for children in hospital by creating a living advent calendar around the wards with a new surprise behind each door, with everything from a real ballerina to festive magic sessions and a samba band.’
The Sharp family are also backing ECHC’s new Christmas appeal, which asks supporters to help ‘Light Up Christmas’ for those seriously ill children and young people facing a hospital stay this December.
ECHC’s Light Up Christmas appeal can be found here: www.echcharity.org/christmas
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected].