A BABY who was born weighing the same as a bag of sugar has grown into a strapping toddler – thanks to the generosity of blood donors.
Alfie Hook was born 14 weeks premature in the summer of 2010 but his life was saved thanks to a series of blood transfusions.
Now he is a happy, healthy 21-month-old, no different from other toddlers playing boisterously in the spring sunshine.
His mother, Lisa Grady, from Edinburgh, is urging Scots to donate blood before they go on their summer holidays, a period when stocks can fall dangerously low.
Lisa suffered medical complications after falling pregnant and gave birth to Alfie in the bathroom.
She said: “I stood up and pulled the emergency cord and everyone came rushing in, but by the time they got there, he was in my hands.
“He was like a very small doll, and he was blue. He fitted into my hands.
On arrival, doctors tried to warm Alfie up before racing him off to the special baby care unit.
Lisa said: “There were lots of nurses, lots of people running about, and it was really quite scary, but the nurses in there were second to none, I can’t thank them enough.
“It was amazing seeing him, words can’t describe it. I’d obviously seen him after I’d given birth but when I saw him again, he just looked like a little soul.
“I wasn’t sure at the time what was going to happen and I didn’t think I was even going to be able to touch him. When they said we could touch his wee feet, it was amazing, there were a few tears. His arms weren’t even the width of my index finger.
“Everything was there and perfect, but so small- he had nails and hair. He opened his eyes when he heard my voice.”
Lisa and partner John Hook feared that Alfie would not survive.
She said: “His heart rate was dropping quite a lot and he was showing signs of other problems so they had to take blood for tests, and because he was so small, he couldn’t reproduce his own blood quick enough.
“But the minute he was given a transfusion, every time he had one it was like a different child, he was so alert.”
Alfie was kept in hospital for three months before being allowed to move into the family home in Gilmerton.
But now, he is a happy healthy 21-month-old and can even count to ten.
Lisa added: “He’s huge now, he can count to ten, which is a bit scary, and he can count from ten backwards, I don’t know whose blood he got but its not my blood that’s given him that.”
Lisa added that she is keep to support the Scottish National Blood Transfusion’s Service summer appeal.
“I just want to say keep up the good work, every tiny baby in there will need blood at some point,” she said.
Blood Donor Week launched this week and Transfusion Service spokesman Vincent Mooney is also urging people to donate blood before they go away this summer.
“Once a donor comes along for the first time, we know their blood group, so we can contact them when we need to.
“This will be particularly important when supplies of a specific blood group are lower than we’d like, which could occur during the summer period.”
Mr Mooney added that events such as the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics could put a particular strain on blood supplies this summer.