The dad of a tot who has spent over half of his life in hospital since being born 13 weeks prematurely says he’s proud of his son for ‘proving everyone wrong’.
William Ryder weighed just 1lb 3oz - the same as half a small bag of sugar - when he was born.
He has since experienced numerous health problems, including aspiration pneumonia, gastroesophageal reflux and respiratory failure, and has spent much of his life in and out of intensive care and high dependency units.
Parents Michelle and Paul Ryder, of Farmley Road, Balby, lost William’s twin 18 weeks into the pregnancy and, despite the many obstacles the new parents have faced, dad Paul says they are optimistic about the future.
“They said he wouldn’t be able to survive, and he did. They said he wouldn’t be able to sit up and he did. So we’re always amazed by what he does next. He can do anything,” said Paul, aged 35.
At one point medics gave William a five per cent chance of survival, but the youngster has continued to defy the odds.
The toddler has had to have a string of operations, and has spent over four months in the Sheffield Children’s Hospital, his parents using on-site accommodation Treetop House to stay close - which Paul says was ‘invaluable’.
Now the couple want to give something back and are encouraging people to help them fundraise for the Sick Children’s Trust, which funded Treetop House, and eight other similar facilities across the country.
The trust will hold a Big Chocolate Tea Party throughout April and is encouraging the public to host chocolate-tea themed parties to fundraise.
Looking to the future, Paul said he is proud of every tiny step or sign of improvement his son shows.
“Tiny things other parents would expect are a big thing to us. We are even chuffed to see him being naughty!” he laughed.
“We want to do everything we can to make sure he has the happiest life possible.”