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Sunday, 05 July 2015

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Barrow family launch £20k appeal to bring their son home

A BRAVE 10-year-old Barrow boy, who has twice fought cancer, has suffered irreparable brain damage and his family are appealing for help to bring him home from hospital.

Click here to donate to the fund

Leon O’Neill was diagnosed with leukaemia aged four and he had three years of chemotherapy before going into remission. The cancer returned in February 2013 and the Barrow lad’s best chance for a cure was a bone marrow transplant.

The Newbarns Primary School pupil had the transplant last summer at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital which went well and he spent weeks in isolation.

Leon returned home in September, but two days before Christmas he needed urgent medication for the glandular fever virus at the Manchester hospital.

Leon suffered extreme side effects to the treatment and he was left fighting for his life in intensive care as he went into septic shock and renal failure.

To the horror of his family, Leon had suffered global brain damage which left him in a vegetative state and unable to recover.

He was transferred to Barrow’s Furness General Hospital in April. Leon is ready to return home but his family need to adapt their house in Middle Hill, Newbarns.

The family are starting an appeal to raise £20,000 to make the necessary changes to the ground floor and achieve their dream of bringing Leon back to his own surroundings.

The youngster has round the clock care from his family and carers from the Rainbow Trust. The family wants to create a bedroom and washing area for Leon by extending into the garden.

Leon’s mum and dad, Caroline Bottrell, 38, and Shaun O’Neill, 42, say their son is so brave and his courage and strength has always got everyone through.

Miss Bottrell said: “We were told we could lose him, and I looked at Leon and said ‘you have to pull through’. Miraculously he did pull through.

“ICU were fantastic and saved his life, but unbeknown to us and the medical team he had suffered global brain damage due to the low blood pressure. His brain was starved of oxygen and it caused irreparable damage.

“Leon is now in a vegetative state, but I believe Leon knows us when we talk to him and he communicates in his own way. He is aware of who is around him.

“It was advised that Leon is given palliative care as he is not going to get better from his brain injury. He is hanging on in there and fighting.

“We will give Leon the best, whatever it takes and get him home. He deserves it more than anything because he will be able to sense being home. He has spent a lot of his young life in hospital and now he should be at home and be peaceful, we owe him that.

“We are thankful that Leon is still with us fighting on. We want to give him the best for what time he has left.”

Miss Bottrell has thanked all the medics, Leon’s carers, and family and friends for their support.

The family has applied for planning permission which is in the process and they have a builder ready to start.

A disabled facilities grant was declined as the family has a living room space, but this is their only living space and the family want a more permanent arrangement for Leon, as they will also have carers staying in their home overnight.

The family are in the early stages of the appeal. Anyone wanting to offer support can contact the Evening Mail by emailing natalie.chapples@nwemail.co.uk, or calling 01229 840139.

Have your say

Its about time barrow pulls together to help this little boy get home to his mum and dad.

If anyone is in this position you would hope for a micicale. So lets give them one. If every house hold in barrow donated something ( doesnt matter how much as its the thought that counts) we could get this lad home to be with his family.

If you havent got any money to give make this appeal globel via facebook etc
Write etters for support to specilist companys ie for light room equipment to make his room special.

Lets make this possible.xxxx

Posted by anon on 6 June 2014 at 21:47

NWEM why do you look into organising a 'DIY SOS' style event,labour contributions from the local builders trade to build what's needed and our great community can put their hands in their pockets to pay for the materials

Posted by jenna on 6 June 2014 at 11:32

View all 14 comments on this article

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