Tuesday 20 August 2019

'I don't want to live with the angels yet' - how a 'miracle' boy's Christmas wish has changed

Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte
Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A brave young boy who begged Santa that he didn't "want to go live with the angels yet" has made "miracle" progress and now his mum has revealed he wants to meet an Irish hero.

Just one year ago Charlotte Caldwell was in LA where her beloved son Billy (12) was being treated for incurable intractable and status epilepsy, which cannot be controlled through medicine or diet and he cannot come out of seizures himself without rescue medicine and oxygen.

When he was a baby his parents were told to bring him home to die but his condition improved greatly after he spent two years getting specialist treatment in the US, before returning home in 2009, his mum Charlotte says the seizures "returned with a vengeance" in 2016.

When he was suffering from up to 30 potentially fatal seizures per month "desperate mummy" Charlotte brought him to the US for cannabis oil treatment.

Conor McGregor at the weigh-in for his Floyd Mayweather Jr fight in Las Vegas. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Conor McGregor at the weigh-in for his Floyd Mayweather Jr fight in Las Vegas. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

He has made a remarkable recovery and is back home in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

Devoted Charlotte told Independent.ie: "This time last year we didn't know if Billy would survive, we were over in LA with no money, nobody around us, we didn't have a Christmas and we didn't even know if Billy would survive.

"Billy knew he was seriously unwell and he decided not to ask for presents but instead ask Santa if he could help him to get better."

Billy penned a heartbreaking letter to Santa himself, writing: "I am not home, I am sick, I am in Los Angeles.

"Can you please come here Santa, I would like you to take my seizures away?

"Santa, I don't want to go and live with the angels yet, I want to stay here with my mummy and my big brother."

"I don't want to live with the angels yet" - Billy's heartbreaking letter to Santa last year

Read More: Mother organises festival to celebrate 'miracle' boy who is 300 days seizure-free after cannabis oil treatment

Happily, Billy's gone from strength to strength and this year his request to Santa was to meet another fighter, as he wants the chance to "give Conor McGregor a big hug."

Charlotte explained why she thinks her son admires the Dublin MMA star so much.

She said: "He's crazy about Conor, he just loves him so I always let him watch his fights and he'll watch Conor's videos over and over.

"I think it's because Conor doesn't sit still and Billy loves the movement and his strength and bravery.

"Some kids have Batman as their hero but for Billy it's Conor McGregor.

"I really admire Conor too, he has come from humble beginnings and worked hard to get where he is today."

Read More: Irish mum and sick son left homeless in LA over mounting medical bills

Charlotte said that she is over the moon to see Billy doing so well and wants to make this Christmas extra special for him.

She said: "Like any mummy, I just want to give him the Christmas he deserves, he's been through so much.

"I've lost count of the days he is seizure free now and the progress hasn't even just been health-wise but in every aspect of his life, it's a miracle.

"I'm so excited to spend this Christmas at home, with the tree and decorations up, surrounded by people we love.

"We aren't asking for a big meeting with Conor or anything as I can only imagine how busy he is but if Billy could even just meet him for five minutes I know he would be over the moon."

Independent.ie has contacted Conor McGregor's spokeswoman for a comment.

For more information about Billy, please visit here

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