Zayne’s silent fight for life

Fighter: Zayne Wheeler, 15 months old, with mum Tamsyn Gregory and dad Matthew Wheeler
Fighter: Zayne Wheeler, 15 months old, with mum Tamsyn Gregory and dad Matthew Wheeler

A BRAVE tot who has nearly died eight times in a year is battling on with the support of his family.

Zayne Gregory was born 15 months ago, and since then his inspirational family have been on an emotional rollercoaster. His parents Tamsyn Gregory and Matthew Wheeler from Clifton have never heard him cry or laugh. Before he turned a month old, he had survived life-threatening surgery.

Zayne was born five weeks early on August 6 2010 weighing just 5lb 1oz and was taken straight to Intensive Care.

It was days before he was strong enough to open his eyes. A heart murmur was picked up and the family were transferred to Leeds General Infirmary for his heart to be checked and then surgery. After this his chest had to be left open for two weeks while the swelling decreased.

Good news followed though when his relieved parents and siblings Danyal, eight, and Tobias, six were allowed to enjoy Christmas with their baby brother.

But by Easter his condition had worsened and he was sent to the Children’s Ward at Calderdale Royal Hospital. “Zayne went floppy in my arms and as we got on the ward, he was close to death again,” said Matthew. A scan revealed the brave tot had a massive stroke.

Now Zayne remains on a vent 24 hours a day and is fed through a tube. He cannot make any noise.

“He’s such a happy baby, if he cries we know it’s something wrong because he is always smiling and happy,” said his proud Dad.

But the family wants to raise awareness about his condition and funds to help with motability, hearing or speech therapy. Their current wish is for a video baby monitor so he can be left to sleep, but that costs £250.

Pupils at Cliffe Hill Primary School – where his brothers go to school – are fund-raising to raise money to buy sensory lighting, something which helps Zayne. Supply teacher John Hubbard has arranged for his former employers KD Decoratives to donate some lighting and head of Year Five Steven Price has organised a series of activities to raise money.

To donate to the family’s appeal e-mail Matthew on or donate them to Cliffe Hill Community Primary School, Stoney Lane, Lightcliffe.