McKen­zie Brack­ley, 5, of Leven has been cho­sen as the face of char­ity Wel­lChild’s na­tional Christ­mas cam­paign.

HEALTH: McKen­zie and mum Amy front Wel­lChild’s Christ­mas cam­paign to pro­vide more nurses across UK

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - CLAIRE WARRENDER cwar­ren­[email protected]­

A five-year-old Fife boy with a com­plex med­i­cal con­di­tion has be­come the face of a na­tional char­ity’s Christ­mas cam­paign.

McKen­zie Brack­ley from Leven fea­tures in Wel­lChild’s sea­sonal drive to help give fam­i­lies with se­ri­ously ill chil­dren the con­fi­dence to care for them at home.

The young­ster be­came very ill in 2016 and was later di­ag­nosed with acute flac­cid paral­y­sis.

He spent Christ­mas in hos­pi­tal be­fore be­ing reunited with his fam­ily at home with the help of Wel­lChild nurses.

This year McKen­zie won a Wel­lChild award for the brave and in­spi­ra­tional way he has dealt with his con­di­tion and got to meet the Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex – bet­ter known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The new cam­paign fronted by McKen­zie and his mother, Amy, aims to pro­vide more nurses to sup­port fam­i­lies through the dif­fi­cult process that takes them from hos­pi­tal to home. The pair

“They put us through lots of prac­tice... to give us con­fi­dence for the times when it would just be me and McKen­zie. MUM AMY

ap­pear in leaflets sent to Wel­lChild sup­port­ers across the UK, as well as on the char­ity’s web­site and in its so­cial me­dia cam­paign.

Born a healthy, happy child, McKen­zie lived at home with mum Amy and sis­ter Paige un­til a stub­born ear in­fec­tion in Septem­ber 2016 de­vel­oped into some­thing much more se­ri­ous.

His heart rate in­creased, his breath­ing be­came laboured and he de­vel­oped jit­ters, even­tu­ally los­ing control of ev­ery mus­cle in his body.

He was rushed to hos­pi­tal and kept in iso­la­tion, away from sis­ter Paige and grand­fa­ther Kevin. It was six weeks be­fore Amy could hold her son again.

She said: “The hardest thing was to see him hooked up to all that equip­ment. I was sort of numb through it all, just in shock.”

He spent that Christ­mas in hos­pi­tal and it was a full year be­fore he was al­lowed home with the help of Wel­lChild nurses.

They gave the fam­ily train­ing in how to mon­i­tor and main­tain the equip­ment McKen­zie needs af­ter he was fit­ted with a tra­cheotomy to help him breathe.

“They put us through lots of prac­tice, mak­ing us do things like an emer­gency tra­che change as they looked on, to give us con­fi­dence for the times when it would just be me and McKen­zie,” said Amy.

As well as pro­vid­ing nurse sup­port to se­ri­ously ill chil­dren in the UK, Wel­lChild en­lists vol­un­teers and has in­vested more than £20 mil­lion in chil­dren’s health re­search projects.

Lit­tle star: McKen­zie with the Duchess and Duke of Sus­sex and, left, with mum Amy. Pic­tures: Antony Thomp­son/Wel­lChild.

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