The family of meningitis-struck baby Kia Gott are beginning the new year with new hope as they prepare to bring their “little fighter” home.
Kia, who turned one on December 18, had all four limbs amputated after contracting one of the worst meningitis cases a doctor treating her had seen in 25 years.
The family marked the occasion by singing happy birthday at her bedside in hospital with a cake complete with candles and a giant inflatable figure one floating above.
Baby Kia is still fighting for her life in a high dependency unit as she undergoes a series of painful skin grafts while sedated by powerful painkillers.
However, doctors are now preparing her anguished parents Paul Gott, 35, and Vikki Mitchell, 30, for a plan to see the beautiful tot returned home.
Kia’s aunt Donna Gott, 44, said: “It’s been a strange Christmas as Vikki was at the hospital most of the time but she had Christmas Day at home with the kids.
“Paul was saying to me the other day how weird it is.
“Normally at this time of year he would have been working 100 hours a week to buy presents for the kids.
“But he’s hardly working at all and has become both mum and dad while Vikki’s at the hospital day and night.
“We’re having a meeting this month with consultants to discuss her care plan.
“This is the first time they have talked about her going home – so it’s a real turn of the corner.”
The family, who have two other children Kayden, eight, and sister Elsie, four, have been living in a three bedroom housing association home in Wyke, West Yorks., up until now.
However, they will have to move into a bigger and more suitable property when doctors eventually allow Kia home.
Donna said: “We look forward to the day she comes home to a suitable house where her needs can be met.
“Both her siblings Kayden and Elsie want her home where she belongs.
“Kia’s needs will be huge and complex – she will be in a wheelchair.
“All this will need to be looked at so the family gets the right kind of support to give Kia as bright a future as possible.”
Even once Kia comes out of high dependency care at Leeds General Infirmary she will have to go through rehabilitation lasting several months.
Kia’s heartbroken parents Paul Gott, 35, and Vikki Mitchell, 30, say they have been badly let down by an NHS decision to raise the age at which babies are vaccinated for meningitis C.
It was raised from three months old to twelve months in July 2016 – just six months before Kia was born.
They now are spearheading a campaign to see the vaccination reintroduced at 12 weeks old.
A petition they started to see the vaccination debated in Parliament now has more than 4,000 signatures.
Dad Paul said: “They are saying no-one’s getting meningitis anymore but babies are being effected and our baby is very effected.
“It just seems stupid that we need 10,000 to get a response.
“This has destroyed Kia and it angers me – it feels like she is just a number to the NHS decision makers.
“I just want them to come and look at my little daughter in that hospital.
“All I see when I shut my eyes at night is my little girl – I can’t sleep.”
Self-employed window fitter Paul has been unable to work since Kia fell ill as Vikki spends 24 hours a day at the hospital with her.
He said: “Normally at this time of the year I would have been working 90 hours a week getting money in for Christmas presents.
“But now I’m a full-time mum and dad.
“I’m a self-employed guy and need to plan two weeks ahead but now I’ve had to stop working and am on benefits.
“I’m not that guy but what choice have I got?
“It hasn’t felt like Christmas – I cried the first time it snowed this year because Kia will never be able to see it or walk on it.
“All the milestones have been taken away from her.
“Right now I just want her to live.”
To sign the petition and back Kia’s family’s fight visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/205842.
Crowdfunders have donated more than £36,000 to help Kia’s family plan a better future for her.
To make a donation visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/emma-simpson-2.