Friday 20 January 2017

'Miracle' boy to undergo life-changing operation

Nick Bramhill

Published 21/06/2011 | 07:06

Mikey O'Connor with his mum Emma McGlynn at home in Listowel, Co Kerry, yesterday
Mikey O'Connor with his mum Emma McGlynn at home in Listowel, Co Kerry, yesterday

A 'MIRACLE' boy who defied doctors' predictions that he would die in the womb is about to undergo life-changing surgery.

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Mikey O'Connor (4), from Listowel, Co Kerry, is one of just two children in Ireland with the little-known but often fatal 'prune-belly' syndrome.

Babies born with the rare genetic condition have no stomach muscles and suffer chronic kidney failure.

The condition was detected after the first foetal scan of Mikey's mother, Emma McGlynn, and doctors warned there was virtually no chance of him surviving to term.

Emma and her fiance, Michael O'Connor, were so certain the prediction would come true, they planned the funeral and even bought a tiny white coffin and a headstone for their unborn second child.

But Mikey astounded both his parents and doctors by not only surviving the birth, but also the critical four months that followed in Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin.

His doting mother said it wasn't until he reached the age of two that she allowed herself to have real hope for his future, as half of all sufferers of 'prune-belly' syndrome -- a condition that predominantly affects males -- do not live beyond that age.

Mikey, whom Emma (35) calls "my miracle child", stunned his physiotherapists a few months ago when he took his first steps, which weren't expected for at least another few years.

The young boy is now waiting for the biggest operation of his life -- an intricate but life-transforming surgical procedure to construct stomach muscles.

"I've never know anyone with as much fighting spirit," said Emma. Although Mikey will have physical restrictions throughout his life, Emma says he more than makes up for those with his "huge personality".

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