One football-mad Sheffield youngster has more reasons than most to celebrate the arrival of the World Cup.
The kick-off of the tournament marked four years since Carter Whitlam was discharged from Sheffield Children’s Hospital where doctors saved his life,
The four-year-old, from Handsworth, was born with a left congenital diaphragmatic hernia and underwent surgery aaged just four days, for doctors to move parts of his body back to the correct place.
He recovered and was home within two months, but just a matter of weeks later he was back in hospital critically ill.
Mum Laura Cartwright said: “He’d been vomiting through the night, but I assumed it was a sickness bug.
“I called NHS Direct and while on the phone I noticed his head hanging back and he was losing consciousness, so an ambulance was sent.”
Upon arrival at the hospital, doctors discovered Cater’s abdomen was causing him pain, but could not establish the cause.
Laura said: “Carter’s abdomen was pushing onto his lung which meant the doctors couldn’t ventilate him.
“They tried numerous things, but were unable to improve his condition and told us there was nothing else they could do.
“Our family came to the hospital and they organised the vicar to say final prayers before I held him.
“Then, in a final attempt to save our son, one consultant decided to try one last procedure which, by some miracle, worked.
“He still wasn’t out of the woods, but they could ventilate him while they address ed his other medical issues.”
Carter remained in intensive care for 12 weeks following further operations and problems with his breathing. He then spent six months between the hospital’s intensive care, high dependency and S1 wards before being discharged in time for the 2010 World Cup.
Carter still regularly attends the hospital and has had further operations, but Laura said he tends to bounce back quickly.
She said: “The World Cup’s arrival has brought home how far Carter has come. He does things we never expected him to, like attending school full-time and learning karate.
“He’s football mad so he’s enjoying watching England and likes Sheffield United.”
To thank hospital staff for his life-saving treatment, Carter’s family, along with relatives and friends, have organised fundraisers including raffles, coffee mornings and walking challenges.
Laura said: “Last year for Make it Better Day we held a cake sale and are planning another this year too.
“Staff at the hospital were amazing – I can never thank them enough for what they did but fundraising helps us feel like we are giving something back.”
The Star has committed to raising £25,000 as part of The Children’s Hospital Charity’s Make it Better appeal to fund a new single-occupancy room for poorly children – but we need your help. To donate directly to the appeal, text STAR31 followed by either £1, £2, £4, £5 or £10, depending on the amount you wish to donate, such as STAR31 £5, to 70070.
Alternatively, visit The Star’s Just Giving page at justgiving.com/Star31 to donate.