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Little Liam making a speedy recovery after pioneering op

A LITTLE boy who underwent life-saving brain surgery on Tuesday was yesterday scrambling up a climbing frame in New York's Central Park after making a remarkable recovery.

Liam Heffernan (2), from Keel in Castlemaine, Co Kerry, is the youngest child in the world to receive the treatment for Batten disease -- a rare neuro-degenerative condition from which his older sister Saoirse (5) died at the beginning of the year.

Liam underwent the pioneering surgery at Weill Cornell University Hospital, a year and a day since he was first diagnosed.

The surgery involved six holes being drilled into Liam's skull and healthy gene stem cells being transferred. It is hoped that the cells will start recreating themselves and producing the protein that is lacking in Batten sufferers.

On Thursday Liam was discharged. But he will remain at the hospital's guest facility for at least four weeks.

Speaking from New York last night, his father Tony Heffernan said: "Liam is enjoying the fresh air in Central Park. He was feeding the birds earlier and now he is scrambling up a climbing frame with the help of his mum. It is just remarkable how he has recovered. He is back to himself and we can not convey how happy we are."

The little boy, who has undergone five general anaesthetics in six days, has shocked medics by making such a speedy recovery.

He is the first child to undergo the treatment to be discharged within two days.

The little boy will now be examined every two days for the next month and will undergo a raft of tests before hopefully being given the all clear.

Irish Independent