Wee Oscar hit by ‘double whammy’

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A brave little Portstewart baby who underwent a bone marrow transplant is back on the road to recovery despite a worrying two weeks when he developed a lung infection.

Nine-month-old Oscar McLaughlin spent Christmas and the New Year in hospital after being diagnosed with Server Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) in December – a condition where the immune system is so highly compromised that it is considered almost absent.

The rare disorder, also known as the ‘bubble boy’ disease, made Oscar so extremely vulnerable to infection that he was kept in a bubble-like sterile environment in order to avoid catching life-threatening diseases or infections.

He was subsequently flown to the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle - which specialises in treating the disorder - and underwent a bone marrow transplant on February 13.

His parents, Olivia and Pearse, have endured a worrying fortnight as Oscar’s body becomes accustomed to the transplant.

Mum Olivia told the Times: “He is doing very well and has had a rough two weeks. Initially the staff thought that he was engrafting as he was showing effects of this.

“This included a rash all over his body, high temperatures and general irritability. However, since then a scan of his lungs revealed an infection. This has been there since he was first admitted to hospital but they feel that it flared up again following chemotherapy.

“They have it all under control now and we just wait as he engrafts. He had a lot of sickness following the chemo and unfortunately the effects of the infection and the side effects of the chemo happened all at once - a double whammy.

“Since Saturday (February 25) we have seen a huge improvement. His temperatures have came down, his rash has cleared and he is in better form. “He is also beginning to eat again as through the sickness he went off his food.”

Olivia said that she and Pearse were staying positive: “We are under no illusion that there will still be tough times ahead but we are hoping again that they are not too rough on Oscar. He really is a very happy baby so we are delighted to see him back to his old form.”

Olivia has been grateful for all the support received from the Bubble Foundation with family and friends raising funds for it.

There will be a fundraising poker night in the Eoghan Rua Clubhouse for the Bubble Foundation on Friday, March 9 from 8pm.

There will also be a raffle with prizes including a signed Ireland rugby top and one of Paul Cutler’s golf clubs he played with at the GB and Ireland’s win over America in the 2011 Walker Cup, Barry McGuigan and Carl Frampton signed boxing glovew, gift vouchers for The Anchor, Divine Wines, Portstewart Clothing Company and Elite Fitness.

Tickets can be obtained from the Portstewart Arms or contacting Peter Doherty at peter.t.doherty@hotmail.co.uk Anyone who would like to donate to the Bubble Foundation can do so through Oscar McLaughlin’s Justgiving site.