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Brave Ryan recovers from St Stephen's Day transplant

A LITTLE boy with a rare disease is recovering from a bone-marrow transplant in hospital.

Ryan Caulfield-McCormack (6) had major surgery on St Stephen's Day in the University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital.

The youngster from Tramore, Co Waterford, was flown to the United States to start his life-saving treatment last month.

His parents, Caroline and James, have been at their son's bedside, while Ryan's twin brother Jack and younger brother Ethan (4), who also has the rare disorder, are being cared for by the couple's family in Ireland.

Ahead of Ryan's surgery, nervous mum Caroline wrote about her son's "big day", on the Save Ryan and Ethan Appeal Facebook page.

"God bless Ryan's donor, thank you," she wrote, before asking for "candles, prayers and crossed fingers" for Ryan.

Yesterday, Caroline and James posted a photograph of Ryan with his doctor, Paul Orchard, following the boy's transplant.

Life has been turned upside down for the Waterford couple since two of their sons were diagnosed with a rare inherited disorder, ALD – adrenoleukodystrophy – earlier this year.

The condition, which was made famous through the 1992 film 'Lorenzo's Oil', causes damage to the myelin sheath – the protective layering covering nerve cells in the brain. It typically presents in children between the ages of four and 10.

Prognosis is poor in children, as it is a progressive neurological disease, and death usually occurs within one to 10 years after the onset of symptoms. However, gene therapy and bone marrow transplants have been known to arrest the disease in early childhood.

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Ethan will also follow his brother to the US, where he will have to undergo a bone marrow transplant in the near future.

Meanwhile, a huge fundraising drive is continuing in Waterford to cover the cost of the transplants.

Caroline and James have to raise up to €3m to pay for the treatment of their children. Donations can be made to the Save Ryan and Ethan Fund through Bank of Ireland in Tramore, account number 18 59 69 22, sort code 90-47-04.

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