South Yorkshire backpack boy makes it to 14

Jack Waller with mum Diane
Jack Waller with mum Diane
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He wasn’t expected to live beyond the age of one - but brave double lung transplant patient Jack Waller has made it to his 14th birthday.

Jack, from Brampton Bierlow near Rotherham, was kept alive for almost five years by wearing a special backpack which fed vital drugs to his heart.

He needed two new lungs to treat a rare condition called pulmonary hypertension, which causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.

The youngster will require another risky transplant in a few years’ time - but for now his mum Diane said he’s a ‘thriving, typical teenager’.

Jack is doing well at Wath Comprehensive School, where he is near the top of his class, and is looking forward to his first-ever holiday abroad with his family.

He was diagnosed a week before his first birthday, and he has spent much of his young life at Great Ormond Street hospital in London, as well as hospitals in Sheffield and Barnsley.

Jack, his mum Diane and nine-year-old twin brothers Adam and Joe have now been presented with a cheque for nearly £2,000, raised by staff from BBC Radio Sheffield who cycled 80 miles from the city to Cleethorpes.

The cash total was matched by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, a national charity based in Rotherham, and all proceeds will go towards Jack’s holiday.

“He’s a bright little star and such a credit to the surgeons who saved his life – and for his spirit and bravery,” said broadcaster Andy Kershaw from the radio station.