Eight year old Harrison was born with the rare genetic condition, autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, a condition which also affected his liver.. It meant that he was very poorly from birth and had problems with his blood pressure, feeding and physical development
“His first year of life was touch and go” explains Harrison’s dad, Mick. “He had a kidney removed at eight months old and his energy levels were extremely low. When he was five years old he underwent a kidney and liver transplant and consquently mised a lot of his first year at school.. Harrison life was more hospital stays and appointments, procedures and operations than a “normal” baby, toddler and starting school life.
“Happily, since his transplant his quality of life has improved greatly and now he is able enjoy is life and be included in activities which wouldn’t have been possible before. However he does have to take daily medication and have regular check ups and because his condition is so rare, it can be difficult for other children to understand the impact.
“It was during a visit to the liver clinic last year that we met the families officer from Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF). It was great to realise that there was an organisation there for families like us with people we could talk to.
“She told us about Wild Camp, a weekend away in the ‘great outdoors’ for young people and a parent. Harrison and I were very keen – it sounded like great fun and nothing we had done before!”
So Harrison and his dad headed off to deepest Derbyshire for a weekend of games, campfire cooking and even building and sleeping in their own shelter!
“We loved it!” says Mick. “Harrison loves making new friends and learning new skills and he particularly enjoyed baking his own bread and eating pigeon stir fry. I just loved the whole thing. It was so nice to chat to parents who completely understand our situation and for Harrison to realise that he is not alone and there are other children coping with rare conditions just like him.
“He now has the time and energy to catch up with his peers physically and educationally. Wild Camp was such a positive experience for him and he can’t wait to come back.”