Brave baby Ashley's battle for life

Baby Ashley Hodgson with his mum and dad, Ryan and Toyah and brothers and sisters (left ro right) Jessica, Alfie, Holly-Ann and Joe.
Baby Ashley Hodgson with his mum and dad, Ryan and Toyah and brothers and sisters (left ro right) Jessica, Alfie, Holly-Ann and Joe.

A battling baby boy has stunned medics with his amazing progress after they thought he would never survive when he was born 10 weeks prematurely.

Doctors warned parents, Ryan and Toyah Hodgson, that their tiny baby boy Ashley, may not survive after he was born with Hydrocephalus, a build up of fluid on the brain and cerebral palsy.

Ashley Hodgson,  a little battler who was born 10 weeks premature

Ashley Hodgson, a little battler who was born 10 weeks premature

Ryan said: “They told us to contact the family to come to the hospital to say goodbye to Ashley.

“But he decided he was going to battle on and although he is still a poorly boy he is here with us.”

Now Ashley’s doting big brother and sister, Joe (14) and 11-year-old Jessica have organised a Hallowe’en disco at their school, Hameldon Community College in Burnley, to raise money for the charity, Shine, which has helped their family through their terrible ordeal.

Toyah said: “Shine has given us so much help and support and it was Joe and Jessica who came up with the idea to do some fund raising for it because they have seen themselves how the charity has helped us.”

Ashley weighed just 3lbs 1oz when he came into the world by emergency Caesarean section after Toyah started feeling poorly and was finding it difficult to breathe. At the time the family were living in Manchester and Toyah (33) was taken to Wigan Infirmary.

She said: “A monitor showed a fast heart beat for both me and Ashley so the c-section was performed very quickly.”

Because Ashley was so tiny he was transferred to the neotnatal intensive care unit at the Royal Bolton Hospital, one of three centres of excellence in the North West. It was only after tests were carried out that Ashley’s major health problems were discovered.

Toyah, who grew up in Brierfield, said: “The midwife came racing in to me to say I needed to get to Bolton and the paramedics got me there by ambulance in 14 minutes.”

Ashley underwent an operation to remove cysts from his brain and he has been fitted with a shunt in his skull that will drain excess fluid which puts pressure on it.

He spent six weeks in hospital and the family, including the couple’s two other children, Holly-Ann (six) and five-year-old Alfie, decided to move back to Ryan’s hometown of Burnley so his relatives could help and support them.

Now weighing in at 12lbs 14oz, blue eyed Ashley is a placid and adorable baby boy who wins the hearts of everyone who meets him.

Ryan (36) said: “The extent of his health problems will not really be known until he grows up but he has made good progress in the last month alone.

“The cerebral palsy has affected his eyesight and he struggles to hold his head up without support but he is very alert. He has changed all our lives in so many ways.

“We feel very lucky and blessed to have him.”