Saturday 3 December 2016

'Our miracle baby Shaye is battling back against all the odds'

Dan Danaher

Published 21/10/2016 | 02:30

Shaye Collins being held by his mother Veronica
Shaye Collins being held by his mother Veronica

A premature baby who suffers from a rare and life-threatening blood condition has defied all the medical odds.

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There is no recorded case of a premature baby surviving with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) in the UK or Ireland, so baby Shaye Collins has confounded medical experts.

Little Shaye, from Killaloe, Co Clare, was born by emergency C-section at Holles Street Hospital, Dublin, on September 6 at 30 weeks and six days.

He weighed over four pounds, but when excess fluid was drained his weight dropped to just over three pounds.

Three days later, doctors diagnosed Shaye with the rare blood condition HLH in which the body makes too many activated immune cells.

Shaye was transferred to Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin and was then airlifted to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital on Tuesday, October 11.

People with HLH usually develop symptoms within the first months or years of life. These include fever, enlarged liver or spleen, lower-than-normal number of blood cells, and neurological abnormalities. HLH may be inherited or can be acquired.

Parents Eoin and Veronica Collins have been "blown away" by the support from family, relatives and friends.

Shaye Collins with his father Eoin
Shaye Collins with his father Eoin
Shaye Collins being held by his mother Veronica

Shaye's father Eoin recalled how a doctor, on the helicopter that transported Shaye to London, looked at his chart and couldn't believe it.

"The doctor said the word 'fighter' is thrown around a lot, but felt Shaye's case is unbelievable," he said.

"He said it is a 'miracle' that Shaye is alive as there is no recorded case of a premature baby surviving with HLH in the UK or Ireland.

"What makes Shaye's case unique is the fact he got HLH as a foetus, was born with it and survived.

"Doctors have said there is a considerable battle ahead of him. They haven't minced their words - there is no guarantee that treatment will work."

Eoin and Veronica have described the assistance from people as "tremendous".

"We don't know how long his treatment will take or how long he will be in Ormond Street," they said.

A series of fundraising events have been organised to help cover the costs of the family travelling to Great Ormond Street Hospital and Veronica's living expenses in London.

The main headline event is the Lip Sync battle in aid of Baby Shaye, which will be held in the Lakeside Hotel, Killaloe, on December 2 at 8pm.

Donations can be made on the Lip Sync Battle in aid of Baby Shaye Facebook page.

Irish Independent

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