A nine-year-old boy with half a heart is in desperate need of a new one so he can realise his dream of growing up to become a DOCTOR.
Little Henry Bromberg was born with hypo-plastic left heart syndrome, a rare condition which means only one side of his heart functions.
The poorly youngster, dubbed ‘half a heart Henry’, spends most of his days in hospital, can no longer go to school and has stopped growing because of his deteriorating health.
Experts have said that if a donor cannot be found to give him a replacement heart, Henry will die.
He understands the seriousness of his condition but despite his tragic circumstances, the ambitious lad is an unwavering optimist.
In his short lifetime, he has undergone a staggering 38 operations, including three open heart surgeries, and relies on 24 different types of medication every day.
But instead of putting him off hospitals, his ill health has served as an inspiration – and bright Henry, who has high-functioning autism, has decided he wants to be a doctor.
However, to realise his dream of saving other people’s lives, the kind-hearted primary school pupil needs a stroke of luck to save his own life first.
In a desperate bid to find a new heart for their little boy, Henry’s parents, Robert, 60, and Laura, 50, are appealing for people to sign the NHS organ donor register.
Laura, a former headteacher turned charity director, of Deerhurst, Gloucestershire, said: “He is an incredibly bright boy, but he has never know what normal life is like.
“He can’t run or play sports because he gets short of breath, he isn’t allowed to fly and he can’t see his friends because he could pick up an infection.
“He doesn’t even know what it is like to go to the fridge to pour a glass of milk because the amount of fluid he can drink is very restricted.
“Even though he understands everything going on with his illness, he is always happy and positive.
“One of his proudest moments was climbing up part of Mont Blanc – something a little boy with only half a heart shouldn’t be able to do. He has a huge bucket list.
“At the moment, one of the main things is that he would love to become a doctor so he can save lives like his doctors have helped him.
“For him to have a new heart would be amazing. It would be beyond a dream come true for us all.”
Henry’s heart problems were first detected when Laura went in for her 20-week scan, which revealed he had just one ventricle when he should have two.
Doctors warned her and Robert that their son’s condition was ‘incompatible with life’ and were given the option to abort – but they chose to give him a chance.
The couple were told that Henry would need to undergo three rounds of surgery, the first of which he had at six weeks and the second of which he had aged six months.
He was due to undergo a third round at the age of four, just before he started school, but was unable to because he suffered a brain abscess – a one in a million chance.
Laura, who is now a regional director for an education charity, said: “He wants to be a neurologist because a wonderful neurologist operated on him and saved his life.
“He was put on a ward with other sick children and sadly some of his friends died from brain tumours. He got it into his head at a very young age that he wanted to fix them.
“He tells us he has already got the cure for brain tumours but he isn’t going to tell anybody yet. He will share it with the world at a later date.”
Tragically, the brain abscess meant that Henry’s third heart operation had to be delayed for a year – and when he finally had it done, it was ineffective.
Since then, he has battled infection after infection. His heart has struggled on, but it has got to the point where doctors can do no more for him, Laura said.
He is currently on the list for a heart transplant along with dozens of other poorly children, but new organs don’t become available very often.
“Henry’s heart hasn’t got very much oomph left in it,” said Laura.
“Sadly, there is a desperate shortage of organs. We have to wait and watch Henry deteriorate until he has to live in hospital and hope he doesn’t die.
“It is so important that people register. It is so much easier to make that decision yourself.”
Dad Robert, who is a retired headteacher, added: “He will die without a heart soon. The time span is unknown but in the next two or three years he has no chance.
“He’s not growing any more because his heart’s not able. All of the children in his school who used to be shorter than him have all overtaken him.
“But he’s a very bright young man and he’s got passions. He thinks about when he will be able to run about and play with the other kids and always talks about the future.
“There is nothing more tragic than a young person dying, but sadly there are not enough hearts to go around.”
To register as a donor, visit: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate/