A South Tyneside youngster who has endured a year of pain due to a rare medical condition has been recognised for his bravery.
Jack Lewis has undergone countless operations after being born with the rare abdominal condition Exomphalos Major, which resulted in three of his internal organs being outside his body when he was born,
The extensive surgery has left the youngster, who is now four, with extra sensitive pain receptors.
This past year, Jack, who goes to St Mary’s Nursery, in Ayr Drive, Jarrow, has undergone further tests due to suffering from severe abdominal pain.
His bravery in dealing with the pain and hospital visits prompted his mum Sarah to nominate Jack for a Christmas Wish - a scheme run by Community Corner.
The youngster was presented with tickets to go and see Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime at the Customs House.
It does affect his whole life but he just gets on with it.Sarah Lewis
Mrs Lewis, from Stirling Avenue, Jarrow, said: “This past year has been really bad for Jack. He has been in so much pain.
“When a youngster gets a tummy bug, it hurts. But for Jack, the pain is 20 times worse due to the sensitivity in this area.
“He has undergone a year’s worth of investigations and tests to try and find out what is causing him so much pain and he has been so brave.
“He has had so much time off nursery this year, but they have been really good with him.
“It does affect his whole life but he just gets on with it.
“I nominated him for a Christmas Wish as I thought it would give him something to look forward to.”
Exomphalos is thought to affect just two in every 5,000 children born every year, according to NHS statistics.
It is a weakness of the baby’s abdominal wall where the umbilical cord joins it, which occurs when the abdomen does not develop fully while in the womb.
In pregnancies, the intestine develops inside the umbilical cord and usually moves inside the abdomen after a few weeks, but in exomphalos, the intestines and sometimes other organs remain inside the umbilical cord, but outside the abdomen.
A cause for the condition – which leads to organs being covered in a membrane outside the body – is not known, and it can sometimes be associated with other problems. Treatment is needed soon after birth, and the outlook for those born with the condition varies depending on the size of the defect.