FERNDALE father Francis Prendergast has a special reason for getting involved with this year’s Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation Christmas Lights campaign.
His son Ryan was diagnosed with Kostmann syndrome at just five months old, a condition that meant Ryan had a shortage of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps to protect against inflammation and fight infection.
“He was very susceptible to bacterial infections and had several staph infections within his first few months,” Mr Prendergast said.
Ryan required weekly injections of a synthetic form of neutrophils and at 18 months old had his first stem cell transplant, which was unsuccessful.
A second transplant several months later was a success, meaning the syndrome is essentially gone, but Ryan was left with eye problems and bronchiectasis, a build up of fluid in the lungs that can be managed but not cured.
Despite ongoing tests and appointments, Mr Prendergast said Ryan was like any normal eight-year-old and had been busy helping prepare their Christmas lights display.
Mr Prendergast has put up Christmas lights for the past five years and this year decided to take part in the PMHF campaign.
“Donations help out quite a lot and I’ve seen that,” he said.
“Ryan has spent a lot of time at PMH so I think he’s quite happy about it.
“I think it’s good to have that community spirit of giving.”
With help from Ryan and his other three children, Mr Prendergast has spent the past four weeks preparing a dazzling display that includes reindeers, three Santas, shooting stars and stunning lights.
“Last year I saw kids come here and the looks on their - even on adult’s faces - when they see Christmas lights, it gives you the sense you’re doing something right. You can see the joy that it brings people,” he said.
Visit the Prendergast’s display at 10 Alyxia Place, Ferndale.