Christmas Day with Peterborough toddler his mum thought they would never see

The mum of a Peterborough toddler is enjoying the Christmas she never thought she would have two years after her brave fighter was placed on the organ transplant list.

Friday, 25th December 2020, 6:00 am
September: Mum Shannon holds Grayson Heagren. Shannon spoke to the Peterborough Telegraph after Grayson had a heart transplant earlier in the year

The mum of a Peterborough toddler is preparing for the Christmas she never thought she would have two years after her brave fighter was placed on the organ transplant list.

Grayson Heagren was born with a rare heart condition - and on Christmas Eve 2018, when he was less than one year old, mum Shannon was told he needed a transplant.

More than a year went by, and Shannon, from Park Farm in Peterborough had almost given up hope - but earlier this year Grayson was given the gift of life, when a transplant became available.

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Liyttle Grayson is home for Christmas this year.

The Peterborough Telegraph has followed Grayson’s journey since his family were told a transplant was needed.

Now for the first time he will be at home with his family on Christmas Day, for what will be a very special occasion.

Shannon (26) said: “I always hope for the best but expect the worst, and I thought he would make it to his birthday in April but I didn’t know about Christmas. I had got used to the thought of Christmas without him.

“Thankfully he got the transplant this year, and we can spend Christmas together as a family.

Grayson in hospital.

“It might not be the normal Christmas because of Covid but it will be so special, and we will celebrate as much as possible.

“His sister, Amelia (8) is like a mother hen looking after him, and he gets on so well with his brothers, Riley (3) and Aiden (6).’’

Grayson had been diagnosed with heart condition dilated cardiomyopathy aged just two months, and spent much of his short life at Great Ormond Street Hospital in intensive care.

The transplant was successfully carried out earlier this year, and all indications so far are that Grayson has not rejected his new heart, although more check ups will be needed.

Grayson recovering in hospital.

Shannon said: “Everything has gone really well, and he has settled in at home very well.

“It took him a couple of weeks, and for a while he wasn’t sure of his siblings, but now he is back to his old self. The only difference is he doesn’t stop eating - but he had gone for two years without eating before.

“He is now nearly walking, and we went to the park for the first time this week.

“Grayson really loved the slide especially. It is so nice to be able to do things we never thought we would be able to do.”

Grayson enjoying time outdoors following his heart transplant operation.

While Shannon is taking extra care to avoid infections, Grayson has not been told he needs to shield.

Shannon said: “While he doesn’t have to shield, we are still being very strict and careful about what we do. We’ve waited so long for this.

“The plan is for him to start nursery in April, which will be great.”

“For the past few weeks I have had a couple of lows - you sit and think about how we are celebrating, but the family who donated the heart are not, and we will have Christmas together, but they won’t be able to.

“We will think of them at Christmas.”

While Grayson doesn’t fully understand Christmas, Shannon said they were going to make sure it was a celebration to remember for everyone.

She said: “He likes the baubles on the tree, and often tries to reach for them. He has his own with his name on it, and he often reaches for that.

“He loves looking at the tree and the tinsel and lights.

“We have gone a bit OTT this year - last year we were in hospital, so to be given this chance is special, and why not spoil him?

“We don’t know how long he will get.”