Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

To Look at Me You Wouldn't Think I'd Been So Very Poorly; Mum's Fundraising Thank You to Staff

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

To Look at Me You Wouldn't Think I'd Been So Very Poorly; Mum's Fundraising Thank You to Staff

Article excerpt

Byline: By MARIE LEVY

LITTLE Zenun Cohen-Smith has a disease so rare it does not even have a name.

It was touch and go as to whether the Teesside tot would survive when he was born nine weeks prematurely.

The tiny 2lb 4oz baby was resuscitated at birth and had to undergo an operation for a perforated bowel at just five days old.

His mum Melanie had to wait an agonising 13 days before she could hold him in her arms for the first time.

"It got to the stage where I thought the first time I held him might be the last," she said.

"It was very touch and go after his surgery. I have never been so petrified in my entire life."

Zenun was born with high blood sugar and doctors later discovered he had diabetes, liver problems, reflux problems, growth problems and no gall bladder.

"We took him to see a specialist in Leeds who found he had this syndrome that is so rare it has not been named yet," said Melanie, 33, who has been amazed by her son's progress.

"Now he is a cheeky chap who just lights up the room.

"It's just unreal because he was so poorly. To look at him now you would not have a clue.

"He just wants to do all the things any child wants to do."

Zenun's biggest problem is his diabetes which is controlled through an insulin line that he wears all the time as well as insulin injections and various medications.

"You have to have eyes in the back of your head because when you are not watching he will pull his insulin line out," said Melanie.

"I look at him and I just think he is unbelievable and I look at his four-year-old sister Betzal as well because she has been through so much. For three months of her life she hardly saw me or my husband Daniel.

"Zenun and Betzal just idolise each other; they are just fantastic together."

As the youngster approaches his second birthday in September Melanie is planning an extra big celebration with the aim of raising lots of money for the paediatric diabetes team at the James Cook University Hospital who have helped her through two difficult years. …

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