WEIGHING JUST 1lb 14oz, Elliott Higgins was born with a fight to survive. And for the first three months of his life, the tiny baby’s future was never assured.
He was born at just 25 weeks at Leeds General Infirmary, and spent his first month in intensive care with his parents, Bobby and Natalie, at his bedside.
But now the family, who live near Drighlington, are celebrating the youngster’s first birthday at home and are hoping to repay the medical experts who cared for their young son.
They have launched a fundraising campaign for the neonatal services at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust as well as the charity, Bliss, which helps provide care for premature and sick babies.
After being given just a 40 per cent chance of survival when his mother went into labour at 24 weeks, Elliott was born a week later on January 15 last year with a bleed on his brain that could have left him paralysed on his left side.
He spent his first three months at Leeds General Infirmary and Leeds St James’s Hospital suffering with chronic lung disease, visual impairment and metabolic bone disease, but he is now fully mobile as he marks his first birthday.
His mother said: “I struggled really badly at first when it happened. I didn’t see how I would cope going to hospital every single day – you can’t stay there as a mum when your baby’s on oxygen.
“The nurses don’t just care for your baby, they also look after the parents who are sat in there day after day.”
The couple’s quest for a baby started nine years ago, but it was only following IVF treatment that Elliott was conceived. He now weighs more than 20lbs.
His parents are raising money for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s neonatal service and premature charity Bliss, for whom his mother now volunteers.
“He’s not a quiet one, he’s very boisterous, and he’s very much a chunky little boy,” she added.
Elliott’s father is set to run the London Marathon and a fundraising night themed around the 1980s has been organised at The Old Barn at Esholt, near Shipley, on March 21.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s neonatal services is one of the largest in the UK, caring for about 1,800 babies each year. Many of these babies need intensive care or surgery.