Sunderland boy with rare condition thanks well-wishers who helped fund huge operation
Smiling teenager Jacob Brown has had his life transformed after a major operation.
And now, the Houghton area 14-year-old can look forward to making all his dreams come true just months after his family feared his life could be affected forever.
His heart and lungs were being crushed by a rare condition which meant his internal organs only had 1.5 inches of space inside his chest.
A fundraising appeal was launched and a Washington company Peak Body Nutrition as well as Sunderland Echo readers helped to pay for an operation costing almost £15,000 at the Portland Hospital in London.
The Bradley Lowery Foundation also took on Jacob’s cause. As well as fundraising, it campaigned for the surgery procedure to be put back on the NHS.
Jacob’s mum Rachel Ferguson said: “I wish we could go round and say a massive thank you to everyone who helped, whether it was £1 or thousands.
"Jacob could not run across the street without being doubled up before this. He can do whatever he wants to do with his life now.
"It is a massive relief from all that trauma and all those months – a year of worry.”
Surgeons put metal bars in Jacob’s ribs to stop his internal organs from being crushed.
Over time, the bars will push the sternum outwards to improve the depth of his chest, and that will free the pressure on his organs.
Rachel went with her son to the London hospital, and said: “The nerves and the fear started to kick in when he went under the anaesthetic.”
But all went well.
Rachel said: "He was in intensive care overnight. I saw him the next morning after the operation and he had ordered a full English breakfast!”
Eventually, further surgery will be needed to remove the bars and more funds will be needed. People can support the Jacob Brown Needs Your Help cause.
Jacob was diagnosed with the condition Pectus Excavatum a year ago. His rib cage was growing inwards and causing the sternum to sink into his chest.
Recent CT scans showed surgery was needed more urgently than first thought.
It was a great success and Jacob, who is a student at East Durham College, returned home last weekend to his family in Fencehouses.
In a heartfelt video from his hospital bed, he had a message for everyone who had supported him: “Thank you. You have changed my life forever.”
Lynn Murphy, from the Bradley Lowery Foundation, said: “Jacob has thankfully had his operation, and already you can see the improvements in his health. A wonderful business came forward to cover the remaining cost for the operation.
"We do still need to continue to fundraise for the surgeon fee and the removal of the bars in four years time, but we have plenty of time to raise the remaining cash. We are just so pleased Jacob now has a chance of a better quality of life.”