Brave tot Theo Dawes was today hailed as a ‘little fighter’ for his amazing recovery from yet another string of horrendous health problems.
The Sunderland youngster, who was born 10 weeks prematurely and weighed just 2lb after complications during pregnancy, has gone through another bout of setbacks.
It includes a seven-week stay in a hospital’s intensive care unit, suffering a collapsed lung, and falling ill with Influenza A just before Christmas.
But now, the adorable youngster from Hylton Castle has fought back to health once more - and is the first entry in this year’s Best of Wearside Awards.
We’re hoping he is the first of many and you can find out how to enter your own favourites in today’s Echo.
In the meantime, Theo, now one year old, is already in the running in the Child of Courage category for his amazing fight to fitness.
When you look at him now you wouldn’t realise just how ill he as been. Everybody is saying how he is a little fighter and that is exactly what he is. We are so proud of him as he has done so well to overcome everythingVicky Curry
Poorly Theo was cared for by the Sunderland Royal Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for more than seven weeks where he received a blood transfusion and was kept in a special incubator.
He also received respiratory care because his lungs were premature and weak.
And even when he returned home with parents Vicky Curry and Martin Dawes, the youngster’s battles were not over.
He had to go back to Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary after falling ill with Influenza A on December 15 last year.
Now, though, he is finally on the mend and his outstanding courage has won him the first nomination in this year’s Best of Wearside Awards, which gets underway today.
His proud mum Vicky, 39, said: “He is a lot better now but we are just keeping an eye on him.
“He had Influenza A, which is the worse part of the virus you can get, but we are not sure how he got it.
“It just came out of nowhere, he had no signs of it at all, but one night he woke up and he was all hot.
“So we gave him some paracetamol and kept an eye on him, but he was crying unusually and was jumping in his sleep.
“Then at 5.30am he had a febrile seizure which lasted 30 minutes.
“They are only meant to last five minutes, so I called the paramedics straight away.
“He was taken to Sunderland Royal and then transferred to the RVI where we were told his right lung had collapsed.”
Thankfully Theo battled back to health and the family were able to return home on December 19, in time for Christmas.
His proud parents praised their son’s bravery and said they were delighted he had been nominated for the award.
Martin said: “We are so proud to see how far he has come.”
Vicky added: “When you look at him now you wouldn’t realise just how ill he as been.
“Everybody is saying how he is a little fighter and that is exactly what he is.
“We are so proud of him as he has done so well to overcome everything.
“It would mean a lot for him to win a Child of Courage Award, it would be amazing.
“It is good for people to know what he has gone through and to raise awareness of the Sunderland Royal Neonatal Unit.”
Over the last eight months the family have been fundraising to buy the ward a new incubator as a way of thanking the staff for caring for their son.
They held numerous charity events and managed to raise an incredible £7,320 and have since presented the unit with a cheque.
Now they plan to hold more fundraising events in the New Year to continue to help raise more funds.
To donate visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sunderlandneonatalunit-ICU-page2
Theo has become the first entry in our awards which searches for unsung heroes in the community and now comes your chance to nominate your own favourites.
This year’s Best of Wearside Awards have been sponsored by Calsonic Kansei.
There’s plenty of time to get those entries in. You can nominate right up until Wednesday, February 28.
After that, the panel of judges will meet to draw up this year’s shortlist of contenders before the final at Stadium of Light on Thursday, March 15.
To nominate, just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.
Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).
Send all of that to Lynn Wild by no later than February 28.
Email those entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA.
Student of the Year.
Fundraiser of the Year.
Volunteer of the Year.
Child of Achievement.
Child of Courage.