He may be tiny, but seven-week-old Lennox Knight has already proved he is winning a huge fight for survival.
The tot was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome during mum Laura Smith’s 20-week scan and within three days of him being born, he was taken in for what is likely to be many operations.
The condition means the left lower pumping chamber of the heart does not develop properly, so is much smaller than usual, while a valve between it and the upper chamber is closed or very small.
A short time after he was born, he was given drugs to keep that hole open, with doctors putting a shunt in his heart to help him thrive.
He has since had another four other procedures, with his chest left open as medics monitored his condition following surgery. It is expected he will need a heart transplant in years to come.
He has also suffered a bleed to the brain, which is thought to have be the result of the machine used to take over the job of his heart and lungs, a cardiac arrest and he has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
Obviously we were devastated when we first found out, but we had time to adjust and we could make preparations for when he was born.Laura Smith
It is likely he will be six-months-old before he is allowed to be taken to his Trimdon home for the first time, with Laura, dad Jordan, both 20, and brothers Riley-James, two, and Cole Jordan, one, keeping a vigil over him at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
Laura said: “Obviously we were devastated when we first found out, but we had time to adjust and we could make preparations for when he was born.
“I know I’m missing out on these first moments. He was three weeks old when we could first hold him properly. When he was born, I got to hold him for a few minutes, but then they had to take him away.
“He’s still got a log of tubes and ventilator, which is scary.
“He’s definitely a fighter, he really wants to take the tubes out, but he’s not strong enough.”
The family have been helped by the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) as they spend time at the hospital.
Jordan, who is a groundworker for Kevin Ord Groundworks, added: “At first, when we found out, it was more shock and it was really bad, and then we came around, but it was still so hard to cope with it.
“We’ve had a lot of help from family.
“Chuf have been great, but there’s no support for them, so we want to do some fundraising for them.
“They helped us by letting us stay in a flat near the hospital.
“We don’t really know how long he’ll be in for, but it could be for six months.”
Jordan, who used to train at Mainsforth ABC, has already organised a boxing event at Trimdon Boxing Club.