AFTER 82 days in hospital, a brave South Tyneside tot is finally back home again and able to play with his Christmas presents.
Little Charlie Cookson has spent the past three months battling problems including seizures, a partially collapsed lung and needing a brain biopsy.
His poor health meant he celebrated a second Christmas confined to a hospital bed at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
But doctors have decided the 22-month-old, whose mystery condition still baffles them, is now well enough to return to his Simonside home in South Shields.
And Charlie, who has spent most of his life in hospital, can now play with his toys, specially bought by fundraising and donations, from family, friends and Gazette readers.
Delighted mum Sarah Cookson, 37, said: “After 82 days, we were ecstatic to get our now, not so little, bundle of joy home.
“The house was more than ready for him, as it’s been decked out with his new sensory equipment bought by all our truly kind and generous, family, friends, Gazette readers, and the folk of South Tyneside.
“He’s still relying on oxygen, but he is loving all of the new lights, projectors, visual and musical stimulation that surrounds him.”
Since birth, Charlie’s mum, and dad Chris Cookson, have tried to find a diagnosis for their only child.
In his first few months of life the brave youngster battled E-coli, septicaemia, meningitis and bacterial diseases. He also needed numerous operations and had to remain flat to keep his spine straight and to stop him from choking.
He was later diagnosed with epilepsy, brittle bones, an immune system deficiency and visual problems, and was back and forth to hospital.
Last November, Charlie’s seizures got worse and he was admitted into the RVI again, as doctors carried out a brain and skin biopsy, and a lumbar puncture, to try to give the family a diagnosis.
Sarah, who runs the Sarah Howe Cookson School of Dance, said: “Charlie had surgery and an MRI in December, the results showed a change in the white matter of his brain. The surgery went to plan, but he was left with a partially collapsed lung due to the ventilation.”
Despite all the tests, so far the results have proved inconclusive – but the family refusing to give up.
Sarah said: “We are so devastated, after all the pain and suffering Charlie has gone through, that we are still no closer to find out what his diagnosis is but we will never stop searching for answers.
“But Charlie is home, he’s loving every minute with all of his new things, it’s a million miles away from the hospital’s white walls.”
She added: “We’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone, for all of the love and support they have all shown us.
“We are so grateful.”