A toddler who was the youngest person in Britain on kidney dialysis has eaten solid food for the first time – after receiving a transplant organ from his DAD.
Brave Jaiden Quigley was diagnosed with renal failure at birth and his parents were told he had a 50 per cent chance of survival.
He spent the first two years of his life being fed high-calorie milk through a tube inserted directly into his stomach.
But Jaiden has now eaten his first solid meal after receiving a kidney from dad Sam – and has already developed a taste for Wotsits and Quavers.
Dad Sam, 27, of Norton-sub-Hamdon, Somerset, said: ”Within days of the operation Jaiden had an appetite and was able to eat the hospital’s chicken soup.
”We got him home and he suddenly took one of my Wotsits, which he developed a real taste for. He has since moved on to Quavers and Twiglets.
”But because he had to learn to eat from scratch, he would simply lick the flavour off then hand them back to you.
”Seeing the way he is now is absolutely incredible. He’s lively and happy and can basically live the life of a normal two-year-old.”
Jaiden was born with a damaged kidney after developing a condition in the womb which caused his bladder to expand, causing irreparable damage to his kidney.
Within days of his birth at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley, Kent, it became apparent his condition was life-threatening and he was rushed to Evelina Children’s Hospital.
He spent five months there and his parents – who kept a round-the-clock bedside vigil – were told to fear the worst.
But Jaiden battled through and was eventually allowed to move home, where he spent up to eight hours a day on dialysis taking a cocktail of 12 different drugs.
He had to have regular hospital appointments and was told he could not be given a transplant until he was big enough to receive an adult kidney.
Sam underwent a series of tests to ensure he was a suitable donor and in June underwent a transplant operation at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Jaiden, now two, was able to eat his first meal the following day – hospital chicken soup.
He is still only able to eat small amounts of pureed food and has a tube inserted into his side to supplement his intake, but this will be removed as he eats more.
Construction Manager Sam added: ”I had physical and psychological testing for about a year, just to make sure, but even if I was told my other kidney would fail within a few years I would still have it done.
”It gives you a great respect for the NHS, the doctors who do these operations are lifesavers and the true heroes.
”You also realise having a healthy baby cannot be taken for granted.
”The first two years of his life were difficult. While most two-year-olds run around exploring the garden, Jaiden was lying prone and vomiting between six and 15 times a day.
”But he is doing fantastically now. The past few years have been a roller coaster, so we’re looking forward to some normality.
”People say it’s brave to donate a kidney but I don’t know a single parent who wouldn’t do the same thing.”
Jaiden’s mum Charlotte, 23, was halfway through a sports science degree at the University of Medway when she had to put her life on hold to tend to Jaiden 24 hours a day.
She said: ”We went to see a specialist after his birth and they said his kidneys were completely shrivelled.
”There was a 50 per cent chance he wouldn’t even make it to transplant, so to see where he is now is unbelievable.
”He spent his second birthday completely out of it in intensive care surrounded by tubes.
”We thought it would take months to encourage Jaiden to eat, because he had never done it before, but within days he was eating my homemade vegetable soup. He also loves Wotsits and Quavers.
”How his speech is developing, and he looks so much healthier.
”We will finally be able to give him baths and go swimming and all the usual things children do.”