Rossendale Free Press Article.
November 10, 2006
A DELIGHTED family are celebrating their baby son’s homecoming after life-saving heart surgery.
Tiny Lucas Shatliff, who has Down’s Syndrome, was born four months ago at Burnley General Hospital.
But a scan revealed he had a hole in his heart and he underwent an operation at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool in September.
He suffered complications including kidney failure, heart and lung problems, epilepsy and damage to his thoracic duct.
But he has defied the odds and has been allowed home to Ogden Drive, Helmshore, to be with his parents Rachel and Phil, and their two other children Hannah, eight, and Robert, five.
And the couple have hit out at soap bosses for their portrayal of a couple struggling to cope with a baby with Down’s Syndrome and say they wouldn’t swap Lucas for the world.
Rachel explained: ‘It was such a coincidence that that storyline came up in Eastenders at the same time as we had Lucas.
‘It’s sad that they are using such a negative viewpoint, but we don’t take the same one.
‘Lucas will need more support and will learn more slowly but he is absolutely fantastic and no trouble at all.’
After he was born, Lucas was in intensive care for a fortnight before Rachel and Phil could bring him home.
Just a couple of weeks later, the family was told that Lucas needed his operation.
Rachel, a former senior manager for HSBC Bank in Manchester, said: ‘He was asleep a lot of the time and was struggling to feed but we had been told that there was a six month waiting list.’
The family is now looking forward to Lucas’s christening, at St Thomas’s Church Musbury, in December.
Instead of presents, they are asking for donations for the Down’s Syndrome Association and Alder Hey Hospital’s Ronald McDonald House, which provides accommodation for the families of sick children.
Rachel said: ‘Lucas is a little star.
‘We just feel lucky after all the help we have had from the Helmshore community.’