Joey, from Bradford but now living in Hull, was born with a dysfunctional liver and Kabuki syndrome. At just eight months old he under went a liver transplant. Because of his health problems Joey’s mother was unable to cope and he was put into care, where he was labelled unadoptable.
But the Walton family were not prepared to let labels stand in their way of fostering Joey at the age of three and they have gone on to permanently adopt him.
“Joey is just the most amazing little boy,” says his big sister Lesley Walton.
“He never complains and when you meet him you have no idea when he has been through or what he goes through every day. He know exactly what medication he has to take and when he has to take it. When he comes to stay he brings a bag a long with all the medication. He is just adorable.”
Lesley’s parents-in-law, who have adopted Joey, are in the process of adopting a little girl.
“He will make the most fantastic big brother,” says Lesley. Joey receives a lot of his treatment at Leeds General Infirmary Little Livers Unit and the entire family are busy fund-raising for the unit and also to ensure that transplant children like Joey can attend events like the British Transplant Games in Bolton in August.
“Taking part in things like that is so important for these children,” says mum of two Lesley.
“It is fantastic for their self-esteem and for them to know that they can do the same things as other people.”
They have already held a number of fund-raising events but they are holding a big family fun day at Bradford City Football Club on Saturday.
“A lot of the transplant children will be there and we are hoping for as many people as possible so that we can help as many children as possible.”
Following on from this, at 7pm there will be a corporate Charity Gala auction.
The family is hoping to register a charity called Walton Foundation which will raise money for children who need transplants across the UK to allow them to take part in events like the transplant games.
They want to raise awareness and importance of organ donation and the uncertain life these children lead. As for Joey he is planning to take part in a variety of sports, particularly badminton.
The Family Fun Day will take place on Saturday from 11am to 4 pm at Bradford City Football Club in the McCall suite. For more information visit www.joeywaltontransplantappeal. wordpress.com or visit www.justgiving.com/walton152