A very special little boy has just celebrated his first birthday and made the celebration even more memorable by taking his first steps.
Leo Wright was delivered 10 weeks early on 12 January 2021 when his young mum Ellie was 30 weeks pregnant as she needed life-saving treatment after contracting Covid-19. He was cared for in the Neonatal Unit at Walsall Manor Hospital and had to go on a ventilator for 24 hours.
Ellie, who was 20 at the time, was fighting for her life and wasn’t able to see her new baby until critical care staff and neonatal staff worked together to arrange for his incubator to be brought into the Critical Care Unit in February. She was only able to reach out and touch him as she was still very weak. She finally held him properly for the first time in March.
Now Leo is “going from strength to strength” his proud mum says and delighted his family on his first birthday last Wednesday by walking for the first time.
“He just started to take steps towards my dad on the sofa,” said Ellie, now 21.
“We had a great day with him with all his presents. He has a Mickey Mouse train set and he loves messing with the hoover every time one of us is hoovering so we bought him a toy one. He also loves walking round with a sock; he’s got his own funny little character now and he’s going from strength to strength considering he had to be born 10 weeks early last year.”
Ellie is also continuing her own recovery and is managing to walk better now but still gets tired really easily.
“COVID has completely changed my life,” she said. “I made sure I had all my vaccinations as soon as I could. At the start of my pregnancy there wasn’t enough known about them but now we do know it’s safe to have them. I know having vaccination is a personal choice but from my experience of having COVID I can honestly say I nearly died, the critical care staff saved me. No one wants to go through that.”
Ellie’s mum Michelle Stankevitch added: “I want people to know how serious COVID-19 still is. Ellie can’t drive, she can’t work and she can’t take up her university place because the virus has changed so much
for her and she is still trying to recover.
“Our family will be eternally grateful to neonatal and critical care and the rehab team for what they’ve done for Leo and Ellie and we all owe it to the NHS to carry on taking this seriously and avoid doing anything that might put us at risk of ending up in hospital. To do otherwise is disrespectful in my opinion.”