A Hartlepool teen who has battled back from two brain operations and temporary blindness is urging the community to get behind the charity which support his family during his ordeal.
Just 12 months ago Luke Allison, 13, began to have severe headaches and after his eye began swell he was admitted to the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton.
But as the swelling continued, the youngster, then aged 12, underwent a CT scan which revealed that Luke’s sinuses were filled with pus from severe sinusitis and a brain abscess.
Luke, along with parents – Sue and Anthony Allison – was rushed to The Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, where he underwent emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.
During the ordeal he was left blinded for three days, and after being released from hospital following his first brain operation, he had to return after the abcess came back.
The ordeal was made more bearable after his parents were offered a room at Crawford House on the grounds of the hospital thanks to The Sick Children’s Trust.
Sue, 37, from Bishop Cuthbert, said: “Anthony and I were given a room in A&E to try and get a little sleep while Luke was in surgery for three and a half hours and then we were taken to see him on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in the Great North Children’s Hospital at RVI.
“We spent an anxious night there and the next day we were told there was a room for us in Crawford House.
“We had heard of Crawford House previously because one of my colleagues had stayed here when her baby was ill, and she had told me all about this amazing charity called The Sick Children’s Trust – and now we needed their help ourselves.
“Linsey, the assistant house manager, met us at Crawford House and showed us around and as the tiredness kicked in we were so relieved that we didn’t have to drive home.”
During the ordeal, Luke also suffered from temporary sight loss for three days, as a result of the swelling on his eyes following the operation.
The pupil at High Tunstall College of Science, stayed in hospital for a total of two and a half weeks, but just days after being allowed home he had to be admitted into the RVI once again after the abscess on his brain came back.
Sue added: “A week after Luke’s surgery we were told that the abscess had returned, and, in addition, he had another pocket of pus on the opposite side of his head. “The doctors assured us that the antibiotics they had prescribed would clear it up. After 17 days at the RVI we were sent home, but a week later Luke’s pain was so bad we went to A&E and he was re-admitted.
“Once again, surgeons operated to drain the pus and we spent a night on the sofa in PICU before we called on Crawford House again for a comfy bed for the next five days.”
The second surgery was a success and now a year later Luke is back to school and has completed in various fundraising events for the charity. Now the brave youngster is calling on the community to take part in The Sick Children’s Trust’s annual Big Chocolate Tea fundraising campaign by holding a tea party to raise funds to support other families who need the ‘Home from Home’ accommodation.
l For further information on Big Chocolate Tea, visit: http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/bigchoctea.