Battling Sunderland boy is on road to health after seven operations in three years

'Sugar-bag baby' Joseph Gibson, of Thorney Close, Sunderland, is now three years old.
'Sugar-bag baby' Joseph Gibson, of Thorney Close, Sunderland, is now three years old.
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Just look at him now!

A little boy not expected to survive at birth is now a happy, healthy three-year-old.

In his short life, brave Joseph Gibson, who was born weighing just 1lb 8oz, has faced more than most adults, undergoing seven operations including heart surgery.

Doctors feared Joseph may not survive his first 24 hours of life when he was born 16 weeks early at Sunderland Royal Hospital and he had to spend four months under the watchful eye of staff at the neo-natal unit, as well as 18 months on oxygen.

He’s since encountered a string of complications linked to being born before his tiny body could develop properly, including an operation to close an open duct in his heart, hernias and procedures to insert a tube through which he could feed.

But the Thorney Close youngster has never let it stand in his way, taking all his medical ailments in his stride.

Joseph as a baby at Sunderland Neo-Natal Unit with dad Paul, mum Gemma and brother Alfie.

Joseph as a baby at Sunderland Neo-Natal Unit with dad Paul, mum Gemma and brother Alfie.

Dad Paul, 32, says he and wife Gemma, 31, and big brother Alfie, six, couldn’t be more proud.

“Joseph has been through so much, if you take his top off he looks like a jigsaw from all the operations,” said the dad-of-two. “He still has some problems like moderate to severe hearing loss, but he’s a happy little boy.

“Considering what he’s been through we’re surprised at how well he’s done. At one point he had to have an emergency operation after an operation to have a feeding peg went wrong.

“It pierced his bowel and his stomach really swelled up. But he’s since had his feeding peg removed and can eat for the first time, he loves his biscuits!”

Joseph Gibson pictured with dad Paul, mum Gemma and brother Alfie, six.

Joseph Gibson pictured with dad Paul, mum Gemma and brother Alfie, six.

Now Joseph is on the road to a healthy life his parents are focusing on saying thank you to the unit that saved their youngest son’s life.

They’ve teamed up with Paul Grieves from Spartan Gym in Hylton Castle, where Paul trains, to host a charity night at The Point, in Park Lane, on Friday, January 29.

Tickets are £10 for the combat sports event. They are available from The Point, from Spartan Gym or from Bodyzone in High Street West.

Joseph is a picture of health, despite having seven operations during his short life.

Joseph is a picture of health, despite having seven operations during his short life.