Mum’s pride at terminally-ill son

CHILD OF COURAGE ... Lisa Barry with her brave son Ewan.
CHILD OF COURAGE ... Lisa Barry with her brave son Ewan.

A TERMINALLY-ill youngster has become an inspiration to others after showing bravery in the face of his conditions.

Ewan Barry has a rare spinal condition, a heart defect and a degenerative nervous system disorder, but he “smiles through it all”, according to his proud mum, Lisa.

She said: “Three years ago Ewan was running around playing football, and he was in a mainstream school, and now he’s in a wheelchair, he’s fed through a peg in his tummy and his whole life has been turned upside down.

“He’s waiting for an operation to have a metal rod inserted in his spine because it’s pushing all his organs out of place.

“He does have his down days, like anybody would, but you never hear him complaining. He’s just taken everything in his stride, he just smiles through it all, and his smile lights up the room.”

And now those close to him are hoping his bravery will be honoured after he was nominated for Child of Courage in the Pride of South Tyneside Awards.

Do you know someone South Tyneside should be proud of? Nominate them by following this link.

The 12-year-old, of Lindisfarne Road, Jarrow, was first diagnosed three years ago, after his mum, a support worker for South Tyneside Council, noticed he had become clumsy and kept falling over.

He was treated in a dyspraxia clinic for two years before being taken to the RVI in Newcastle, where he was diagnosed with scoliosis, which causes his spine to curve from side to side; cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease, which leaves people at risk of sudden cardiac death; and Friedreich’s ataxia, an inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system.

Ewan, a pupil at Bamburgh School in Norham Avenue North, South Shields, attended St Oswald’s RC Primary School in Nash Avenue, before he was diagnosed.

Lisa, 41, who is getting married to her partner, Derek Cowley, 40, a residential childcare officer, in May, said: “He still plays football. He just gets down on his knees and plays in goal.

“It’s awkward for Ewan because his wheelchair doesn’t fit in the house, and he has to walk round on his knees, but we’re waiting for an extension to be built, which will be much better for him.”

Ewan was nominated for the Child of Courage award by family friend, Louise Clouston, who said: “Ewan is a selfless child with a serious debilitating, life-threatening condition, who never moans.

“He takes everything in his stride even though his life is a daily struggle. I never see him without a smile on his face even though he is in pain daily.

“Every appointment he has, the family seem to be told something new, but Ewan battles on, he is a true inspiration to us all.”

Lisa added: “I think he’s amazing. Of course, I’m his mam and I’m going to be biased, but I’ve never known a child more worthy of this award.

“It’s truly inspirational seeing how well he’s doing and how he’s helping others. I’m so proud of him and love him so much – he’s my little hero.

“He’s going to give me away at my wedding to Derek in May and I couldn’t be any happier.”

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVicki