Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Music -

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.

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