Boy with half a brain defies medics


A SCOTTISH two-year-old who was born with half a brain has defied medics by talking, feeding himself and learning to walk.

Calib Forsyth’s mother was advised to terminate her pregnancy because the baby “would not function in the outside world”.

But feisty Calib – who is missing the back half of his brain, the cerebellum  – has amazed everyone with his determination to live a full life.

The tot from Glenrothes, Fife, suffers from a rare brain malformation called Dandy Walker Syndrome, which affects only one or two Scots babies annually.

Of the mothers who go ahead with birth, most are very severely disabled and die within the first year.

But Calib’s mother Sarah, 33, describes her son as a “miracle”.

She  said: “I was advised to terminate my pregnancy when I had an ultrasound at 22 weeks.

“I was told my baby would not function in the outside world and if he did survive, he would not be able to do anything for himself.

“But thankfully my maternal instincts kicked in.

“There was no way I could give up on him – I wanted to give him a chance.”


Even after he was born, medics warned Sarah he would most likely spend his life hooked up to a breathing machine, with feeding tubes to help him eat.

But the strong-willed toddler became stronger everyday and after four operations and numerous blood tests and MRI scans he has learned to talk, get himself around in his wheelchair, and “bum shuffle” on the way to learning to walk.

He currently sports a black eye as the result of his determination to live life to the full, delighting his sisters Hayley, four, Leona, 14, and Simone, 12.

“He has amazed everybody,” said Sarah.

“When he was born he was moving and crying and wanted a feed – the medical staff were all shocked.

“And now at the age of two-and-a-half he is brilliant with his top half. He can pick up after himself, feed himself his dinner and control his wheelchair very well. He can bum shuffle across the room which is lovely to watch.

“He is learning to talk, he can repeat words back to you and he really loves Disney films and he is learning to sing along to his favourite ones.”

His condition means the toddler has an increased risk of suffering seizures, hearing and vision problems, paralysis and can even cause heart defects in some cases.

She said: “We have had some scares. Calib developed meningitis after his last operation and it was terrifying.

“He actually copes very well with all the hospital visits now. He puts his arm out for the nurses to take his blood pressure, which is a little heartbreaking for someone so young. He also has a scar on his head from one operation, but he does take it all in his stride.

“He is such a funny little boy, and a complete charmer who flirts with all the girls. He loves Thomas the Tank Engine, playing with cars and watching Disney films.”

The future for Calib is unknown as sufferers can endure a number of complications, but Sarah said she was feeling positive.

She said: “He attends physio twice a week at the Carleton Nursery at the Forth Child Development Centre and he can stand in a standing frame for 20 minutes. We don’t yet know if he will be able to walk, but he can make his way around the room on his bum.

“When I was pregnant the doctors never spoke to me about any of the positive sides to Dandy Walker syndrome, but Calib is such a wonderful little boy and I love looking after him.

“There are days when it can be challenging and we don’t know what will happen in the future but I will never regret my decision to go through with the pregnancy – Calib amazes me everyday.”

To help pay to adapt the family’s garden to meet Calib’s needs, a family fun day, arranged by fundraiser Carol Buchan, is being held this Sunday from 11.00 a.m – 3.00 p.m. at Ladyzonly Gym, Unit 12, Woodgate Way South, in Eastfield Industrial Estate.

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