TOUCHING his brother’s hand, Frankie Mould lies in a hospital bed amid fears the flesh eating bug which almost claimed his life had returned.
The two-year-old was re-admitted to hospital just weeks ago where he underwent emergency surgery to remove a section of skin graft on his back for testing.
Result showed the Hylton Castle tot had instead contracted Scarlet fever and a wound infection.
Frankie made national headlines last year after he was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis – a flesh eating disease – and underwent major skin reconstruction on his back, chest and leg to save his little body.
Mum Lucy Dove, 26, said: “In early April he became seriously unwell again and things got bad.
“It wasn’t the necrotising fasciitis but Scarlett fever, severe tonsillitis and a wound infection combined to make him very, very poorly.
“It took 11 days of strong antibiotics and blood tests three-times a day to get him to the point where he could have another skin graft and then he had to recover from that.
“This time around being in hospital was very difficult – draining, and at times soul destroying.”
A year ago Frankie, dubbed the titanium toddler, was left fighting for life after his body was attacked by the NF bug.
Doctors feared the worst as family, including dad Wayne, 25, and big brother Kayne, gathered round his hospital bed to say prayers for the youngster, described at the time as “the sickest little boy in the UK”.
Doctors at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) put him into a medically-induced coma and, following a series of skin grafts, they were able to wake him up and reunite him with his family who kept a vigil at his bedside.
Since then he has battled back to health while still undergoing more than a dozen operations.
Following last month’s relapse, Frankie and his family were offered a break at a special caravan at Haggerston Castle in Northumberland via the Kian’s Gift scheme.
The scheme is named after Wearside four-year-old Kian Armstrong, who is currently battling cancer. Kian’s gift allows sick youngsters like Frankie to visit the caravan as they recover.
Lucy added: “Frankie was discharged just in time to stay in the Kian’s gift caravan.
“The location has been planned perfectly as outreach nurses from the RVI are still able to come out and nurse the children which in Frankie’s case meant he had to have his dressings done every three days.
“This was the first break we’d had since Frankie became poorly last year and the boys absolutely loved it.
“They were able to be children. Play in the woods and do things that they should be doing instead of sitting in hospitals or waiting for nurses.
“Frankie’s condition affects his brother, too, as it takes up a lot of our time and we cannot do things normal families can. Kayne and Frankie had the pleasure of meeting Kian and his family and they have become the best of friends.
“Kian lives in Castletown, so it isn’t far from us.”
l To learn more about Kian’s Gift, visit www.facebook.com/KiansGift1.