Harry's dream came true for Christmas

Worcester News: JOY: Harry Poole, aged five, visits Father Christmas at his cosy home in Lapland along with his mum and gran. JOY: Harry Poole, aged five, visits Father Christmas at his cosy home in Lapland along with his mum and gran.

NOT everybody’s Christmas wish comes true but it has for one very special little boy this year.

Five-year-old Harry Poole fulfilled his dream of meeting Santa in his own home when he arrived in Lapland with his mother Emma and grandmother Denise.

At just two days old, Harry was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition which means his heart has to work twice as hard as most other people’s.

Doctors gave his parents Emma and Darren Poole two choices – leave baby Harry be – with the risk of him dying of heart failure within weeks – or undergo immediate open-heart surgery. The family chose to operate.

“It was devastating to be told that when he was just three days old, what can you say to that?” said Mrs Poole, of St Peter’s, Worcester.

“Thankfully he came through it and we just focus on giving him the best life we can.”

Harry, a pupil at King’s Hawford School - was chosen by children’s charity, Starlight, to go to Lapland after they heard his story.

During his three-day stay in Finland, he was taken on a ride by a team of huskie dogs and got to drive snowmobiles through the scenic forests. He also enjoyed building snowmen, sledging, a sleigh ride by Santa’s very own reindeers, and was entertained by Santa’s elves with music around the campfire.

“It was a fantastic time and Harry has had his dream of meeting Santa come true,” said Mrs Poole. “He had a great time and hasn’t stopped talking about it since; he wants to go again next year.

“The views were just incredible and the log cabin we stayed in was so lovely too, it was just an unbelievable time.

“It was so nice to see him having such a great, time; he’s a very special little boy and definitely deserves it after everything he has had to go through so far.

“I have two other sons, and one is only two years old and demands a lot of attention, so it was great to be able to spend so much time with Harry and give him my undivided attention.”

Harry has had three open heart operations so far. His second operation came at four months old and his third was in February this year. Although he is improving and having to have fewer hospital visits, he still lives with several side-effects of his condition.

He cannot participate in contact sports as he gets out of breath quickly and his blood is thin he has to be careful he doesn’t take any knocks.

Harry ’s mother has been told that his heart will inevitably fail and he will eventually have to undergo a heart transplant. Mrs Poole said: “It’s very hard to live with the fact that one day my son’s heart is going to fail so we have to be constantly aware of what he’s doing and how much strain he’s putting on himself. It’s awful.

“He will have to have hospital visits, and be on Warfrain which is a blood thickening medication and reduces the risk of blood clots, for the rest of his life. “But in the mean time we just want to enjoy him and Harry is no different to any other little boy, he’s very brave and inspirational.

“We are very proud of him everyday.”

Emma Poole, Denise Poole and Harry arrived in Lapland on Friday, December 6. For more information on Starlight visit starlight.org.uk

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