A mother is raising money to take her son for alternative treatment in America after being told he might have to wait years for a double NHS transplant.
Jaimie Eason, 41, from Shoreham-by-Sea, refuses to wait for 16-year-old Bradley’s health to deteriorate after reportedly being told as suggested by the Royal Brompton Hospital London that he would he would have to be ‘too sick to get out of bed’ before being offered a transplant in February.
“The doctor in Ohio thinks he will be able to offer Bradley treatment now, which will mean the transplant would be further down the line and we are desperate to get him there,” she said.
The mother-of-three recently launched the campaign Mend Brad’s Heart to raise funds to go to America for a second opinion and has since spoken with a doctor in Ohio Cleveland, who believes he can help the teenager’s condition and offers an alternative medical option.
Ms Eason, who has temporarily left her job to take care of her son, said: “If we wait for Bradley to be too sick to get out of bed, he may not be well enough for surgery.
“We would be sat at home, our attitude completely desolate.”
Bradley said although he is ill, he has a very positive attitude and has always tried to live a normal life. He was scouted for Portsmouth Football Club at the age of seven but was only able to play for six months before it became too much for his body.
Ms Eason said the Royal Brompton Hospital discussed renewing the mitral valve in Bradley’s heart in 2015 but by the time they came to review the option his heart was too weak.
She said: “Because we waited, he got worse.”
In October last year the family were ‘really shocked’ to discover that not only would Bradley need a heart transplant but because of severe damage caused from pulmonary hypertension he would also need a lung transplant.
They asked the Royal Brompton Hospital when Bradley would go on the transplant list and was told they could offer no further treatment until he was ‘too sick to get out of bed’ and the family refuse to sit and wait for that to happen.
The Royal Brompton Hospital said its clinical opinion is that renewing the mitral valve would not have made a significant difference and it follows the national guidelines on listing patients for transplant and do not expect Bradley to have the operation in the next five years.
The hospital said: “Bradley is currently in a stable condition on appropriate medical treatment. We keep all our congenital heart disease patients under regular review, and of course will re-assess the situation if his condition changes.”
Bradley Harrison, who left Shoreham Academy last year, was not diagnosed with congenital heart disease until he was five-months-old.
Ms Eason, who wants to raise awareness of the early signs of congenital heart disease, said: “Meningitis is less common now then heart disease in babies, so why do we not know the signs as we would for the [meningitis] rash?”
Talking about the symptoms, she said: “He would struggle to feed and would sweat profusely, which are the early signs of heart disease that parents need to be aware of.”
Since launching the campaign the family has been overwhelmed with kindness and support from the public.
Sarah Montanheiro, a teacher form Bradley’s secondary school, which is also supporting the campaign, and Alex Hall a family friend and RAF personnel, ran in the Brighton Marathon on Sunday (April 15) to raise money for Mend Brad’s Heart.
You can follow the campaign on twitter and Facebook @mendbradsheart and donations can be made through the funding page set up for free by race nation, here.