Mum of three, Nicki Pybus, is celebrating this month as her daughter Emily, 26 months, pulls on her jumper and heads off to nursery for the first time.
Emily was born with congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation, a rare condition which meant her right lung was made up of cysts, rather than healthy lung tissue. At just 9 months old, Emily had surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to remove 70% of her lung.
Since her surgery just over a year ago, Emily is back home and doing well with support from her local hospital. Her first day at nursery marks a real turning point in her life as she has only recently started walking and taking her first tastes of food, rather than relying solely on a feeding tube into her stomach.
Emily will be one of the littlest there, as her condition means she’s small for her age, but mum Nicki is just proud that she’s making progress despite a difficult few years.
Nicki says: “When she was rushed in for lifesaving surgery, I never thought Emily would make it to nursery, let alone be able to start at just 26 months old. She may still be tiny and have a feeding tube, but she doesn't let anything slow her down!"
During Emily’s treatment, Nicki stayed at The Sick Children’s Trust’s Guilford Street House, just minutes from Emily’s bedside. The ‘Home from Home’ provides high-quality free accommodation for families with seriously ill children being treated at GOSH. Without the room, Nicki would have had to make the two hour journey daily to be by her baby’s side.
Nicki adds: ‘I had nowhere to stay when Emily was sick. If I hadn’t had a room in Guilford, I simply wouldn’t have been able to be there with her. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Doctors at Great Ormond Street have since discovered that Emily also has a multicystic dysplastic kidney and will need future surgery to remove her kidney. It’s likely Nicki will be staying with the charity again in the near future, but until then, Emily will be enjoying her first experience of nursery.