How brave little Ezra coped with amputations after surviving meningitis
A mother from Co Antrim has explained how she and her husband were left "praying" for the survival of their son.
Sorina Muresan (35) lives with her husband Cosmin (37) and their four-year-old son Ezra in Carrickfergus.
On March 11, 2016, life was turned upside down for the young family when Ezra, then 14 months old, fell ill with what doctors later confirmed as meningococcal septicaemia.
Speaking ahead of Meningitis Awareness Week, mum Sorina explained: "He was very lethargic.
"He couldn't breath properly.
"We didn't know what was wrong because he was so young and couldn't communicate anything so we decided to go to Dalriada Hospital.
"We had been sent home after he was given some fluids really early in the morning. During the day he got worse, he couldn't eat and started vomiting.
"We tried to give him some water but he couldn't keep it down.
"My husband decided to take him to A&E.
"After a couple of hours, the red spots on his skin started to appear.
"That was the moment when the doctors realised what it was."
The blood infection initially left young Ezra fighting for his life.
The couple were in "complete shock" and told by doctors over the next three to four days that it was unclear if he was going to survive.
"I still have gaps in my memory about that time and my husband is the same," Sorina said.
"There was nothing we could do, we were just praying and waiting."
In the severest cases of meningococcal septicaemia, the bacteria attacks the blood vessels to the major organs and extremities in the body.
On April 1, 2016, doctors advised Ezra's family that the only course of action was to amputate both his legs below the knee, along with a number of fingers on his right hand.
The little boy was also left with scarring on the brain.
"It was hard to see him after that," said mum Sorina.
"We knew in order to still help him we had to do that.
"It is hard, we do struggle a bit.
"There are certain things we can't do and certain things he can't do.
"His balance is not like a normal kid. He can't wear boots over his prosthetics.
"But he is so resilient.
"He is a really content and happy child and he is very good.
"Everyone in contact with him says he is so outgoing and sociable."
Describing how well her "amazing boy" has adjusted to his prosthesis, she added that Ezra has just recently started school.
"He likes it very much," said Sorina.
"He is having some help for his physical needs.
"He is more wobbly than other kids.
"The MRI showed scars on his brain but there are no signs of learning disability yet.
"We hope it stays like that."
Sorina admits that the family don't often like to ask for help but praised the level of support they have had from their local community and within Ezra's school, alongside the information and support through the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).