Two-year-old Lloyd Wray, from Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder less than two months after he was born.
Doctors were forced to insert a tube into his neck to help him breathe and as a result parents Brian and Donna never heard their son talk, laugh or cry – until this month.
Two weeks ago, it was decided that little Lloyd was strong enough to breathe on his own and the tube was removed.
Donna said: “I could have cried – it was an amazing moment.
“The doctors ran a few tests to check if he could cope with breathing without the tube.
“We returned home and got a phone call saying that the tube was going to be removed.
“We were all jumping about mad when we got the call. It was brilliant news.”
Lloyd was born on June 23, 2010 but he was admitted to Yorkhill Children’s Hospital with a chest infection less than two months after being allowed home.
He underwent a brain scan which revealed that he had a rare condition called Treacher Collins Syndrome which affects just one in every 10,000 births.
Lloyd underwent a tracheostomy where a tube was inserted into his neck to help his breathing.
The tube caused other complications for Brian and Donna who had to use special suction equipment to clear mucus from Lloyd’s airways several times a day.
The parents were also afraid of taking Lloyd out in cold weather as the tube made him more susceptible to infection.
He could whisper and mumble but could not talk audibly.
Donna said: “We basically became his full-time carers and we couldn’t really go anywhere.
“We couldn’t have anyone who wasn’t trained how to use the equipment looking after him.
“We had to do everything more or less ourselves for the first year.
“After that, my mum and dad learned how to do it so that Brian and I could have a bit of a break.
“It was difficult at the beginning but we got used to it as time went on.”
A fortnight ago, Brian and Donna received the exciting news that the tube was to be removed and they would finally be able to hear their son’s voice properly for the first time.
Lloyd was expected to have the tube until he was five year’s old but his progress was so impressive that doctors decided that the tube was no longer needed.
It is also unusual for doctors to remove tubes like Lloyd’s during the winter months because of the risk of infection which makes his recovery even more remarkable.
Brian, 38, and Donna, 37, are now looking forward to the first Christmas when they will hear their son’s excitement as he opens his presents alongside brother Layton, 9, and sister Leah, 7.
Donna said: “We were told he would have the tube until he was at least five years old so to have it out after just half of that time is absolutely brilliant.
“Lloyd has been great.
“He isn’t a grumpy child, he’s a great wee character.
“It was just noises he was making before because of the tube and the build-up of secretions in his throat.
“He was a quiet baby and it was strange in the house not hearing him giggling, talking or even crying.
“It’s really strange to finally hear him properly now but we all love it.
“He can say ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ now and he loves singing along with the Singing Kettle. It’s brilliant.”
The Wrays are now planning an extra-special festive celebration when all of the family come to visit Lloyd on Christmas Day.
Donna added: “It will be brilliant to hear him on Christmas morning when he opens all his presents.
“All the family are chuffed to bits and I’m sure it will be a great day.”