A toddler born without an immune system could be forced to spend his Christmas in a sterile ‘BUBBLE’.
Macsen Oatway, two, was diagnosed with Leukocyte adhesion deficiency, or LAD1, which means his body can’t fight off any germs.
His parents, Richard and Zoe Oatway, were told ‘Macs’ would either need to ward off infections with a lifetime of antibiotics, or be given a new immune system.
They opted for the latter – a difficult and painful bone marrow transplant which, if successful, would mean their little boy could lead a normal, healthy life.
Macs arrived at Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital in October and, after being matched with a donor, underwent the transplant on November 5.
But he now faces spending weeks in a germ-free ‘bubble’ – a completely sterilised room of clean air, which no one can enter without scrubbing their hands for minutes on end.
Macs’ dad, Richard Oatway, 29, said: “For us the decision to go ahead with a bone marrow transplant was a no brainer.
“Macs is doing great – he’s got his mum and dad both with him – but it does get hard for us.”
“He’s our strength – it’s remarkable to see him just getting on with things. He’s going through so much but he never lets it get him down.”
Over the next few weeks, the family will find out how Macs’ how effective the transplant has been, and how much of the donor bone marrow has been taken.
Richard said: “Hopefully when his blood levels increase, we’ll move into what’s known as purple isolation.
“Macs will be slightly less restricted then and will be able to get back into the fresh air and see a bit more of the world.
“The bubble unit is such an excellent ward to be on.
“It takes a bit of getting used to, all the cleanliness and scrubbing up before you go in, but it’s such an important part of everyday life here.”
Richard and Zoe said they are grateful to The Bubble Foundation for providing them with accommodation while Macs is in hospital and providing them with things to do.
The charity helps babies and young children who suffer from serious immune disorders, and their families.
To donate visit justgiving.com/bubblefoundation.