Baby Riley with Mum Sarah and Dad Dave
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Little Riley was born with no pulse after being starved of oxygen during birth. Doctors were able to revive him, but parents Dave and Sarah were told his brain had abnormal readings and there was a 50 percent chance of permanent damage.
They were approached by doctors at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol about allowing Riley to become the world’s first baby to be given xenon gas.
Sarah recalled: “I knew it was a gamble but we were told we only had 12 hours to think about it. It was one of the hardest decisions we’ve made. But somehow everything seemed to click into place. We were in the right place at the right time. Now Riley has to have checks every three months but everything looks good.”
Within five days Riley was able to breathe independently for the first time and within a few more days able to hold up his head and feed normally. The treatment is combined with the practice of cooling after oxygen starvation – potentially yielding greater results for newborns. Thanks to Sparks, there is a real possibility that this treatment could help save many more babies that are starved of oxygen at birth.
Baby brain injury is just one of many childhood illnesses. Since 1991, Sparks has funded £19.7 million worth of research to tackle conditions as diverse as childhood cancers, juvenile arthritis and cerebral palsy, just to name a few.
We have many new projects that will be funded in 2011. Your donations will help us to find treatments and cures for more babies like Riley.