Hospital vigil for Brayden after lifesaving op as family prays for heart transplant
The father of a critically ill Londonderry toddler says the power of prayer has given him and his partner the strength to face the challenges ahead as their little boy recovers from major heart surgery far from home.
Three-year-old Brayden Moore, from Sevenoaks in Derry, is currently in hospital in Newcastle awaiting a heart transplant.
He was rushed to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital and flown directly to Newcastle by air ambulance three weeks ago after becoming critically ill.
The tot suffers from congenital heart disease and earlier this week endured a six-hour operation to replace a coronary valve in an effort to stabilise his condition.
Dad Ciaran (28) and mum Andrena (32) - who gave birth to Brayden's little sister Lile just eight weeks ago - are at their son's bedside, hoping and praying that he regains the strength to get the transplant he so desperately needs.
"Brayden had his surgery," said Ciaran.
"He is sedated now.
"We have to wait and see how his heart pumps with the new valve and then we'll know better in a few days how urgently he needs the transplant.
"He has to be monitored here at the hospital to see how he copes with coming off certain medicines."
Ciaran added that the family was obviously very nervous about the transplant.
"It is a massive operation, but it is what he needs to get him going again. We have no other option," he added.
"It is just what he needs.
"People ask how we get through this as parents.
"I say to them: 'Brayden gets us through'.
"He is our child and we have to do this for him.
"We have had a lot of prayers said for us and the strength from that keeps us going every day."
Brayden's parents were informed at his 20-week scan their baby had a serious heart condition.
They were told to expect the worst, but they never gave up. "We went in thinking the scan would be completely normal," said Ciaran.
"We were shocked to discover that our baby had congenital heart disease.
"They told us that he would be born very sick, we didn't know if he would survive, we were told to expect the very worst.
"We were absolutely petrified, we didn't know what would happen.
"We were told that he might not make it or have serious complications in life.
"He was born in the Royal in November 2013. We thought he might need an operation straight away, but he just kept fighting on and we were able to take him home before Christmas without the operation."
Brayden had his first major surgery in Birmingham in August 2014 when he was just nine months old.
His dad said, in typical fashion, his little boy defied the odds and was back on his feet in no time.
"He just keeps us going," added Ciaran.
"Even after his first operation, he was sitting up in his bed the following day and laughing away, and today, after having surgery yesterday, he's heavily sedated but keeps coming around and shaking his head and saying 'no'.
"That's what our wee man's like, he's full of devilment!"
Meanwhile, friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the family to cover bills. Ciaran and Andrena have had to drop everything to be with their little boy.
So far more than £4,000 has been raised. Many of the pledges have ranged from £5 to £40, from both anonymous donors and others who have left personal messages of support.
The family have thanked every donor for helping them and to all those who have offered prayers on behalf of the youngster.
"People are so generous, they have been collecting money for us online and in various places across our city," said Ciaran.
"And footballer James McClean gave a substantial donation yesterday. I could never thank him enough.
"He gets an awful time in the media, but he has a heart of gold and has helped so many.
"I want to thank everyone who helped us in any way, we appreciate it so much.
"And I want to say to everyone who is praying for us, keep the prayers going, we still need them until we get him out the other side."
The family regularly update their Team Brayden Facebook page about his progress in hospital.
- If you would like to donate, log on to the GoFundMe page www.gofundme.com/brayden-the-soldier.