A boy who wasn’t expected to live more than a few hours is now preparing to celebrate his 21st birthday.
Ryan Marshall of Windsor Road, Walton-le-Dale, was baptised just hours after being born on March 4, 1992, at Sharoe Green Hospital in Fulwood, after doctors noticed his skin was blue and they diagnosed that his heart was back-to-front and pumping blood the wrong way.
Mum Lisa Sumner, was just 20-years-old when she was faced with the death of her new-born son.
She said: “I was alright during my pregnancy but Ryan was blue when he was born and the doctors rushed him off and kept doing tests.
“He was born at 3.20pm and by the early hours of the morning they’d taken him off to a special care unit.
“An hour later, just as I had gone back to my bed, the doctors came back to me and said that he needed to be taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and he needed baptising because he might not make it.
“It was horrible, like I’d gone deaf. It was like all the world had been cut off and everything was muffled around me.”
Ryan made it to Alder Hey and at 10am the following morning, at less than 19 hours old, he underwent a procedure to cut a hole in his heart as a temporary measure.
For the following two weeks he battled on, though his weight fluctuated around the 6lb mark as he wasn’t feeding properly and was suffering from cold-like illnesses.
Then doctors decided he needed to undergo a seven hour operation to turn the heart the right way round and rewire his arteries, in a procedure called Transposition of the Great Artery.
Lisa said: “It was the longest seven hours of my life. My then husband Jason was with our 10-month-old son Arron, and I was pacing up and down and crying all of the time.
“I didn’t know what to expect, or whether he’d be able to make it.
“I was told that the procedure was something that they only usually did for children aged between six to 12 months, but Ryan was so sick he needed it at two weeks.
“They said that if he’d have been born a couple of years earlier he’d probably have died, because the technology wouldn’t have been good enough.”
Ryan and Lisa spent three months in the intensive care unit of Alder Hey before being allowed home to their first home in Robin Street, Ribbleton.
Throughout his life he has had to attend regular check-ups to make sure he was developing properly.
Lisa added: “After he got home he was just like a normal little boy and went to school and played sport just like all of his friends.
“We’re so, so thankful, completely over the moon that Ryan has been able to live a normal life, because when we were in Alder Hey in the heart department, there were children who were dying.”
The only cause for concern is that last year Ryan, a former Brownedge St Mary’s High School pupil, started experiencing breathlessness.
Lisa said: “We’ve had him checked out and they think he might have an ectopic heartbeat, but we’re hoping it’s just a blip and it’s nothing.”
Ryan, who now stands at nearly six foot tall, is hoping to sign up to a Myerscough College course in September for agriculture.
He said: “I want to thank the surgeons who saved my life. I can’t remember any of it, and I don’t even know their names, but they did so much.
“I also want to thank my Mum for all the help she has given me.
“Since I had the operation I’ve been able to live a normal life, and I’ve never felt any different to any of my friends. I play football and go out.”