Transform twins’ lives
PARENTS’PLEA TO HELP THEIR TWIN SONS PLAY TOGETHER AFTER SYNDROME SHOCK Rooftop stand-off
THEY are identical twins but Alfie and Rory Highton are very different toddlers.
Due to a complication while in the womb, Alfie was deprived of oxygen for 24 hours and as a result has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is profoundly deaf.
The twins were born by emergency caesarean section at 33 weeks after it was discovered they had developed acute twinto-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).
TTTS happens when there is an uneven blood flow from the placenta to each twin. It resulted in Alfie being oxygen deprived.
Mum and dad Rebecca Barrett and Zak Highton were told there was a chance neither twin would survive as they were rushed into theatre.
Rebecca, 23, said: “Rory was the donor twin. Alfie got less than 1% of blood.
“We were out of the risk zone for twin-to-twin transfusion, as the risk zone ends at 24 weeks.
“After that it’s very unusual and extremely rare.
“It’s even more rare for both of them to survive.
“We didn’t know whether either of them would. It was awful.”
After spending time at Sunderland’s neonatal intensive care unit, the boys were allowed home to Walkergate in Newcastle – but Alfie was kept on oxygen for another eight months.
At just three months old, doctors realised Alfie was deaf and he was then diagnosed with cerebral palsy at nine months old.
Both conditions happened as a result of the oxygen deprivation he suffered before being born.
Now aged 23 months, Alfie has recently had cochlear implants fitted and the family is learning sign language so they can communicate with him.
But mum Rebecca says Alfie struggles to play with his older brother.
“He absolutely loves being able to hear but because of the cerebral palsy he still can’t talk.
“Rory is walking and talking. Alfie can only roll, he can’t sit and definitely can’t stand.
“Rory is getting very independent but Alfie is dependent on us.”
To help the brothers play together, Rebecca and Zak, 25, are fundraising for specialist equipment which would transform Alfie’s life.
The family are hoping to raise £10,000 which would pay for an adaptable Squiggle chair and for a lift to be fitted at the boys’ nursery in Heaton.
Paralegal Rebecca said: “We would like to have a proper seat for him.
“A Squiggle chair can be adapted to floor level or table level and it fully meets his needs.
“He could sit on it a long period of time and it’s on wheels so he could move it about.
“We have a standing frame at home which is 30 years old and just about does the job.
“Because it’s so heavy we can’t take it into nursery so he can’t stand at nursery.”
Money raised would also pay for therapy to help teach Alfie how to control his muscles and move independently.
Despite the barriers between them, Alfie and Rory still share a special bond.
Rebecca added: “Alfie gets a lot of happiness being with his brother and quite often they just hold hands.
“When Alfie hears Rory, he tries to copy whatever Rory is doing.”
• To donate, visit Alfie’s Just4Children fundraising page at just4children.org/childrenhelped2018/amazing-alfie/ A MAN has been arrested following a rooftop standoff with police in Northumberland.
Police were called to Queen Street in Amble on Friday morning.
Officers carried out negotiations with the man, who was on the roof of a property, for several hours.
He was eventually brought down to safety by police.
A 32-year-old man has been arrested.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “At around 10.20am police received a report that a man had climbed on to the roof of a property on Queen Street, Amble.
“Officers attended and the 32-year-old man has since been arrested.”
Rebecca Barrett and Zak Highton with twins Rory and Alfie
Police on Queen Street in Amble