Grateful parents raising cash for hospital which saved life of their brave little girl

Little Connie Young looks just like any other happy newborn baby.

Tuesday, 28th June 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th June 2016, 12:08 pm
Connie Young (10 weeks) with her Dad David Young and Mam Helen Dawson. Photograph by FRANK REID
Connie Young (10 weeks) with her Dad David Young and Mam Helen Dawson. Photograph by FRANK REID

But she has had a troubled start to her young life after being diagnosed with a rare bowel condition.

Connie was unexpectedly rushed to hospital at just 24 hours old after becoming sick, to parents Helen Dawson and David Young’s horror.

Connie Young who has a rare bowel condition called Hirschsprung's disease in Newcastle's RVI hospital

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She was later diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease, which affects just one in 5,000 babies.

After spending six and a half weeks in hospital, Connie is back at home in Hartlepool after undergoing unsuccessful surgery.

She will need another operation before she is one.

In the meantime, Helen and David are organising a series of events to raise awareness and money for Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary as a ‘thank you’ for the care they received.

Connie Young (9 weeks). Photograph by FRANK REID

Connie was born at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton on April 10.

Mum Helen, 32, said there was no clue beforehand anything was wrong.

“After 24 hours she started being sick and the next thing we knew she was in the neonatal unit,” she said.

“An x-ray showed severe blockages in her bowel. We were in complete shock and were devastated because for the first 24 hours she was a totally normal baby, we just couldn’t believe it.

Connie Young who has a rare bowel condition called Hirschsprung's disease in Newcastle's RVI hospital

“She was blue lighted to the RVI, but we weren’t allowed in the ambulance which was even more distressing.”

After two weeks at the RVI, Connie was diagnosed with the condition which means her bowel does not work as it should leading to severe constipation.

Connie had keyhole surgery to try to ‘wash her out’ but unfortunately it was not a success due to her large intestine being more affected than first thought.

“Basically, everything that could have gone wrong in the operation did go wrong.

Connie Young (9 weeks). Photograph by FRANK REID

“It took her quite a while to recover.”

The setbacks saw Connie ending up in paediatric intensive care and she is now living with a colostomy bag.

But Helen, a teacher at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, praised the care Connie received on the RVI’s Ward Nine and its Crawford House which served as a home from home for her and David, also 32.

She added: “The care we received was second to none. The nurses became more like our friends.

“I have never experienced anything like it.”

Connie is Helen and welder David’s first child together.

She will require regular hospital check ups before her next bout of surgery but her family are delighted at her progress.

The couple are hoping to raise cash for good causes.

Helen and David, who live on the Bishop Cuthbert estate, are busy organising a series of events as a thank you for the RVI’s Ward Nine and Crawford House.

Crawford House, is a charity run where families can stay free of charge to be close to their loved ones while at the RVI which is part of the renowned Great North Children’s Hospital.

Helen said: “It is amazing. All the rooms are sponsored so somebody else was paying for our stay.”

Ward Nine deals with a wide range of digestive problems and the money the family raise will pay for toys for children of varying ages.

On Friday, August 26, David will saddle up for a coast to coast bike ride between Whitehaven and Hartlepool.

And on Sunday, August 28, people are invited to a charity night at the Corporation Club, Whitby Street, from 7pm.

Heen said: “The response we have had on social media from peolpe, including those we have never met, has been absolutely amazing.”