Camren is four years old, he is a bright little boy with a wonderful character, great sense of humour and an infectious laugh.
Born on 14th of May 2010, at almost 27 weeks gestation, Camren spent 4 months in SCBU at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford during which time he caught Necrotising Enterocolitis (or NEC) three times, which is a bacterial stomach infection and can cause brain damage. Because of the NEC we weren't allowed to take him out of the incubator and give him cuddles because he was too poorly and also he need to have lumber punctures, blood transfusions and he had to be reintubated (which means to go back onto the ventilator so that it could breathe for him) a few times, all of which are very invasive procedures and were very worrying for us at the time, but of course they were all critically important for Camren's health. In addition he also had to have surgery to correct two hernias in his groin; and all this before he was four months old and 5lbs in weight!!!
Despite his prematurity and all the problems he faced, our gorgeous little Camren came home on the 1st of September 2010 and we were led to believe he was completely healthy in mind and body and would just take time to grow. For the first few months we were so happy just to have him home but gradually it started to become apparent that things weren't as they should have been. Between February and August 2011 we went back and forth to the doctors and health visitors with concerns about Camren, we did not feel he was developing properly, not sitting, not weight bearing through his legs, he didn't extend his arms out to be picked up and all our parental instincts told us there was something seriously wrong with our baby boy but we were repeatedly fobbed off time and time again.
In August 2011 Camren was diagnosed as having Global Development Delay "which could be cerebral palsy" by his Neonatal Consultant. Then in October 2011 we saw a paediatric consultant who diagnosed Camren with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy affecting all four limbs, but mostly his legs and his left hand. The condition was more than likely caused by his premature birth or the NEC infections. The doctors have told us that due to his disability, Camren will never walk and he will spend his entire life in a wheelchair and be completely dependent upon others. Since he was diagnosed, Camren has had many assessments of all different kinds and the doctors have said that cognitively (his learning and understanding of the world) Camren is almost at the ability he should be for his age
News of Camren's disability broke our hearts and completely devastated us, especially as he had already been through so much in the first 12 months since he was born; we felt like our world had been torn apart. Even now, at times we feel numb and unable to cry and other times we find it hard to fight back the tears, but now that we have the news that Camren has been accepted to have this amazing life changing surgery in America, we've finally been given hope that our gorgeous boy will have the chance to live life to the fullest, to take his first steps and to even do things like kick a ball and dance around!!!
Camren has struggled since he was born to gain weight consistently and healthily but, in April 2013 he had major surgery to have a gastrostomy tube fitted, which goes directly through his skin into his stomach so we can feed him super calorific milk to boost him up to the weight he should be, then he will be able to build up his muscles and be more independent, it's still very early on though so we have a long way to go until he's at an ideal weight. He might still have to have the tube through his belly for the rest of his life.
Please help and support us to realise our dream so Camren can do the things that other little boys and girls his age do all day long.