In December of 2013, Romeo joined his “forever family” – his parents, Kate and Jon, and an older sister, Seren. The vivacious then two-year-old was a long-awaited addition to a loving family. But then, in January of this year, tragedy struck and turned this happy family upside down.
While out shopping, 3-year-old Romeo started complaining of leg pains. When his parents stopped to find out why, they found purple blotches on both of his legs that were starting to spread very quickly. They immediately rushed him to the local A&E hospital. Within hours of his arrival, he had deteriorated to critically ill and was admitted to the children’s Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital of Wales.
Kate and Jon were told that their little boy had parpura fulminans, a rare but often fatal thrombotic disorder that manifests itself as blood spots, bruising, and discoloration of the skin. A result of coagulation of the small blood vessels in the skin, it spreads very quickly and leads to necrosis of the skin and the rest of the body.
On a respirator, Romeo wasn’t expected to survive that first night in the hospital. His parents were told to prepare for the worst. But he proved to be one tough little guy because he slowly started to gain back a little bit of his strength. Unfortunately, his battle was far from over.
Romeo’s legs had been badly affected by his condition. Surgery would be needed to save his life. At first, doctors attempted to make incisions in his legs to relieve some of the pressure, but the procedure proved to be unsuccessful and they had to perform a double amputation to remove both of his legs in a 10 hour operation.
At first, the loss was just above his knees, but doctors had to go back in and remove even more of his legs. In the end, Romeo needed a colostomy, 15 operations. He is still at a Children’s Hospital where specialists are working to replace some of his tissues with skin grafting, but he is now off the ventilator and breathing on his own. With more surgery and lots of rehabilitation, he is expected to continue to live. His parents are hoping to make that life worth living with prosthetic limbs (which may or may not be an option in the future) and a wheelchair to help make him get around.
To help this family, the community has banded together to raise nearly $50,000 for him, and the family couldn’t be more grateful. They recently updated their GoFund me project with the following status:
“Words cannot possibly express our overwhelming sense gratitude to each and every one of you . . . We are truly humbled by what people have done and Romeo is a very lucky little man (as we are) to have you all on this journey with us . . . In a nutshell, our glass is indeed full to the brim and our two gorgeous children are blessed to have you all in their lives. Romeo will achieve many great things in his life – his journey will indeed go to infinity and beyond! When we are back to some kind of normal, we are going to throw a massive thank you party for all!”
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