Harry Garside, from Knowsley, England, first started showing signs that something wasn’t right in July, as he began talking in a silly voice.
However, his mother, Laura, 39, dismissed it, initially thinking that her little boy was just crying for attention amid the lockdown as she was juggling between home and caring for Harry and his older sister, Isobel.
“The voice went overnight, he just woke up one day and was speaking like a deaf Al Pacino,” Laura told Caters News Agency.
However, the mom of two started to grow concerned when Harry, who loves hats, began feeling depressed and complained about his eyesight and stomach too.
“He said his tummy wasn’t right and then said his eyes had gone funny and thought he needed glasses,” Laura recalled. “I knew his eyes were fine because he’d just had them tested and I thought lockdown had just taken its toll on him.”
Laura then took Harry to a local walk-in center and later booked a GP appointment to rule out anything sinister.
However, before the appointment was due, the family took a week-long vacation to Bala, north Wales.
On their way back from the vacation, Laura stopped to get her kids some chicken nuggets. But the moment the little boy took the first bite, Laura recalled: “[I]t was like the food couldn’t go down his throat, you could see all the muscles in his neck sticking out and the food going down really slowly.”
The worried mom took a detour and immediately rushed Harry to A&E at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
After an endoscopy, medics immediately performed surgery to remove what they thought was an infected cyst in Harry’s throat, but later discovered it was the remains of a chicken nugget.
However, following the surgery, Harry’s condition continued to deteriorate. Realizing that something neurological was affecting Harry’s ability to swallow safely, doctors ordered an MRI scan, which revealed that the young boy had a brain tumor on the stem of his brain that was of significant size. The tumor was on the part of the brain stem that affected his speech and swallowing ability.
Within the next few days, Harry’s condition worsened as the food remnants were ingested into his lungs and had led to pneumonia, sepsis, and a collapsed lung. The young boy, who was fighting for his life, was then sent to the intensive care unit (ICU).
After a course of antibiotics, it was decided that Harry would undergo an operation to remove the tumor.
“From the start they were quite positive that it wasn’t cancerous,” Laura told Liverpool Echo. “[B]ut they were negative about other stuff like whether he would be able to eat again and would need a tracheotomy in the short to medium turn, if not forever.”
The anxious mother wondered what had happened to her little boy, who was always normal and never had any prior health problems.
Laura remembers begging the doctors to keep the boy from dying.
In the first week of August, Harry underwent a delicate nine-hour operation to remove the brain tumor, according to Caters News Agency.
“[A]s soon as he came off the ventilator after his operation he could speak almost straight away,” Laura said, alluding to the moment. “Hearing his voice again was like hearing a newborn baby cry for the first time, it was such a relief.”
Upon witnessing this, doctors were left astonished, as they couldn’t believe it. “Everyone calls him a little miracle now,” Laura shared.
The little boy is now able to eat and drink and has begun his phased return to school, according to a tweet.
On having her son make such strides as he continues to recover, Laura thanked the medical staff for all their support in caring for Harry. She said she will be “eternally grateful to the wonderful staff at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, from the neurosurgical team to the dedicated intensive care staff and all the wonderful nursing and support staff who each played an essential role in saving Harry’s life,” according to Everton FC’s website.
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