WITH a cheeky smile and bucket-loads of energy, little Toby Booth seems like any other child as he plays at home.
But the 7-year-old has more reason than most to be cheerful following life-changing surgery for a condition that affects only a handful of children in the world.
Toby suffers from Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), which puts him at risk of life-threatening complications, including organ damage.
His condition is so complex that he has to be monitored by a team of specialist medics at The Children’s Hospital in Sheffield on a weekly basis.
And after his illness caused problems with his gallbladder, doctors carried out surgery to remove it.
Mum Helen Booth, 46, of Saxilby, says the pioneering keyhole surgery, coupled with drug infusions to help him fight infections, have given her son a “new lease of life”.
“With Toby’s condition, it has literally been like the film, Boy In The Bubble,” said Mrs Booth, a full-time mum and carer for Toby.
“Now, he goes to school and lives the life of a normal little boy. We went down to Poole and he went on to the beach and swimming – things that he had never been able to do before.
“This is what we’ve been fighting for, for Toby to have a normal life. You can’t have him go through all of this and then tell him that he can’t live a regular life.
“He’s the most cheerful and happy little boy and he never feels sorry for himself.”
Toby was diagnosed with the genetic condition aged two and has already overcome a series of life-threatening complications.
When he was just 3 years old, he had his spleen removed and a bone marrow transplant.
The recent operation at The Children’s Hospital by consultant paediatric surgeon Sean Marven, is hoped to help prevent further complications.
“Toby made a remarkably fast recovery after his surgery. He was up and about the next morning,” said Mrs Booth.
“We’ve been with the hospital for many years and have always been impressed with the care Toby has received from the whole team.
“He’s a very resilient character and we’re very proud of the way he copes with his condition.”
Mr Marven said: “The advantage of keyhole surgery is that the patient has just a couple of small incisions in their abdomen so they recover far more quickly than if they’d had traditional surgery.
“The next morning, Toby was out of bed and running around. We’ve only done a couple of gallbladder operations like this so far and they’ve all been highly successful.
“We like to be able to offer our patients the fastest and most reliable operations which get them back on their feet fast and have fewer risks.”