The loving parents of a brave Leeds boy who suffers from gastroschisis have got tattoos to match his life-saving tubes.
Patrick Askham, 5, was born at 35 weeks with an illness called gastroschisis – a condition where the bowels and other organs are on the outside of the abdomen.
Unfortunately Patrick’s bowels were so matted at birth that once they were placed back inside him, they had to be removed just a few weeks later – leaving him with a short bowel.
Brave Patrick has battled through countless hospital appointments and trips to theatre during his short life so far.
Due to his extremely short bowel, Patrick’s own remaining 9cm bowel is unable to absorb any nutrients so he is artificially fed via a broviac line which goes directly into his heart.
The decision was made to place Patrick on the donor registry for a Bowel transplant in 2018 and in December he received his first gift of life.
However, Patrick’s body went in to severe rejection within 9 days and he developed PTLD – post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder – a type of cancer to lymph nodes.
He has now been left with no bowel due to his advanced condition.
Patrick’s mum Michelle said he has started to hate the look of the lines and tubes which keep him alive as he has got older.
So in an incredible surprise, Michelle and Patrick’s dad Peter got matching tattoos of the broviac central line on their chests – the tube on Patrick placed under the skin on the chest wall and into a large vein that leads to his heart.
Patrick absolutely loves the tattoos – and now says his whole family look just like him.
Michelle told the Yorkshire Evening Post that Patrick had no need to be embarrassed of the tubes which keep him alive.
She said: “Now Patrick is older, he understands more about how he differently he lives his life compared to others.
“He’d got to the point where he really hated the things that keep him alive.
“He was embarrassed by them and how they look.
“Me and his dad thought by us having them too he has no reason to be embarrassed.
“He absolutely loves them and thinks it is ace that we look like him.
“It has made him super proud to have his wigglys.”
During a recent hospital stay, Patrick was glued to the television for a NASA launch streamed live across the world.Following the launch, Patrick asked his granddad Garry if he could have a rocket ship bed.
Garry took on the challenge and with help from the rest of the family, created an incredible bed – complete with decals and slide.
Patrick’s mum Michelle told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Patrick was in hospital during the rocket launch that took place recently.
“He watched it with his dad and became really excited by space and astronauts, he now wants to be one.
“He then asked his granddad in passing if he could make him a rocket ship and my dad took on the challenge!”
Patrick loves his new bed and has been pictured using the new slide with a beaming smile.
The family’s efforts have been praised on social media, as hundreds took to a Facebook page about Patrick to show their support.