Belfast Telegraph

Miracle boy Joseph Laps up visit to Santa Claus in North Pole

By CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

He's the miracle boy who wasn't expected to see this Christmas.

But this week eight-year-old Joseph McDermott defied the odds as he took the trip of a lifetime to Lapland.

Eleven months ago Joseph's life hung in the balance as he lay in intensive care.

He was in a critical condition after he was knocked down on Belfast's Grosvenor Road as he returned home from buying sweets.

He suffered a broken neck, jaw, pelvis, arms and legs as well as fractured ribs and ankles.

His neck is still broken with a 13mm gap.

Doctors told his distraught mum Joanne and grandfather they had done all they could, and so they began an agonising wait to see if their brave little boy would recover.

His granda Simon Smith (53) said: "Eleven months ago, we wouldn't have thought any of this would have happened because we were just praying for Joseph to make it through."

Joseph was in hospital for months and has gone from strength to strength.

Recently he was a mascot for his favourite football team Cliftonville, and has won an achievement award in a special ceremony in Belfast City Hall.

And yesterday his Christmas wish came true as he flew to Lapland to take part in a magical walk through the winter wonderland, pay a visit to Father Christmas and eat to his heart's content at a special festive banquet.

Joseph was nominated by the Barbour Ward at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and was chosen to take the day trip.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "The past is over, I only want to talk about the present."

"And my presents," he joked.

"It's been tough but I can't believe I've got the chance to go to Lapland, I didn't write a list so I took the opportunity to tell Santa I would like a 2DS and some games – I think I've been good enough to get them."

Last night Simon told the Belfast Telegraph: "We're having the time of our lives, it's fantastic. Joseph is so happy meeting the real Santa Claus."

And it is not just a Christmas wish come true for Joseph but for the whole family, especially for mum Joanne.

Simon said: "Joanne is over the Moon. She and Joseph are inseparable, and it would have destroyed her if he hadn't come through."

Joseph said: "She has me back just in time for Christmas."

"You couldn't ask for more," Simon added.

QUOTES

"The past is over, I only want to talk about the present... and my presents.

"It's been tough but I can't believe I've got the chance to go to Lapland. I didn't write a list so I will have to use this opportunity to tell Santa I would like a 2DS and some games – I think I've been good enough to get them."

Belfast boy Joseph McDermott

Belfast Telegraph

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