Parents of Plymouth toddler with a life-threatening condition thank charitable locals who have helped them install CCTV in their home
PARENTS of a two-year-old who suffers from a life-threatening condition have thanked those who have helped install CCTV in their home, helping him lead a more normal life.
Spencer McLelland suffers from Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) which only affects around one in 3,500 children.
The condition leaves him with difficulties swallowing and means he is prone to fits which can leave him unconscious.
Parents Alan and Nicky McLelland, and older brother Callum, 14, have lived life on a knife-edge since his birth as he could choke or fit at any time.
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The family, who live in Hooe, have installed CCTV in their home as a way to allow Spencer to play on his own and with other children without having to be with an adult at all times.
Mum Nicky, a childminder, said: "When I was 30 weeks pregnant they told me he might have three possible conditions and the best outcome was Down's syndrome.
"They said the worst outcome was that he would die at birth. I was offered a termination at 30 weeks.
"When he was first born every time they gave him to me he turned blue. He was in intensive care in Plymouth and transported to St Michael's in Bristol to be operated on.
"They said after that he would be a normal child, but he is far from a normal child.
"He was in hospital when he had his first respiratory arrest and they managed to resuscitate him – we really thought that he was gone.
"He spent the first eight months of his own room in hospital because he was so ill."
Spencer had to be monitored constantly and fed in a certain way, which meant that Alan gave up work to care for him.
Alan said: "He had another arrest. We could see he was all floppy – we tried to see if there was an obstruction in his airwaves but there was nothing.
"Nicky had CPR training with being a child minder so began trying to resuscitate him. It was horrible.
"We got told that babies that have a respiratory arrest in the community are unlikely to survive, so we really do live every day on red-alert.
"I really want to encourage parents to take a first aid course so they know CPR if anything like this happens to their child. My aim is to get it included in antenatal classes. It' so important."
In July, Spencer's big brother Callum came to the rescue when Spencer fell unconscious after another arrest.
Nicky said: "He had Spencer unconscious in his arms. He was just completely blue and lifeless.
"He ran down the street to our friend Kerry's so she could come and get the children I was looking after.
"He had to have breaths and compressions – he looked like he wasn't going to start breathing. Callum is now doing a first aid course so he knows how to resuscitate Spencer. He's been amazing, he's had to live the last two years not knowing if he would wake up and his brother would be gone."