Paul meets more brave children in this week’s Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes on ITV, to see how they are coping with sometimes life-threatening conditions
Paul’s latest visit to Great Ormond Street in ITV’s Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes sees him meet brave 13-year-old Lola, who is learning to walk again after being diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, which causes muscle and skin inflammation.
Meanwhile, Paul also joins Oscar (both pictured above), 10, who has Tourette’s, on a shopping trip to help him overcome his fear of busy places.
Then it’s time for Mr O’Grady to scrub up to observe part of a tense heart operation that aims to help 15-year-old Joe, who has a rare genetic disorder known as Marfan Syndrome.
The condition has left Joe with long, very flexible limbs – which he gleefully demonstrates with ‘tricks’ such as bending his foot backwards – but it’s now having a life-threatening impact on his aorta…
‘I always knew I had slightly longer limbs.
‘The first day at school I could see a sea of small heads and mine poking out like a periscope,’ smiles Joe.
However, the condition also has a wider, more dangerous impact on Joe’s health.
‘Marfan can affect the heart,’ reveals Joe.
‘And the doctors have noticed that my aorta is slowly getting bigger.’
Joe’s breathing has already been impaired and if left untreated, his aorta could burst and become life-threatening.
So he undergoes a challenging six-hour operation.
With Paul watching on, the surgical team take out Joe’s dilated aorta and replace it with an artificial tube.
Following the successful operation, we catch up with Joe at home six weeks on and he’s fighting fit.
‘I’m enjoying things like badminton and going to the gym again,’ he says.
‘I feel like a great weight’s been lifted.’