Football can spread the word for brave tot

Gemma Bramhall and son Riley
Gemma Bramhall and son Riley

LITTLE battler Riley Bramhall had his first major surgery at five days old.

The Wigan tot was fitted with a colostomy bag to by-pass much of his bowel because he was born with the rare Hirschsprungs disease.

Now his mum Gemma is hoping that the World Cup will rub off on the campaign to learn more about the condition.

She has helped organise a football-themed raffle of memorabilia from the ‘beautiful game’ backed by her employers, the Royal Bank of Scotland, plus Latics.

Exclusive donations from Wigan Athletic include a signed Europa League Football signed by all the Latics team, plus a pair of football boots signed by FA Cup goal scoring hero Ben Watson, and a pair of gloves signed by keeper Scott Carson.

The raffle opened on Friday, June 13, and will be drawn at the end of the World Cup.

Running for the duration of the tournament, the event is supporting the Standish-based CHAMPS Appeal, which supports young children born with the condition.

Currently one in 5,000 children are born with Hirschsprungs disease, with a marked bias towards boys.

At present an incurable disease, the charity is the only one in the country helping raise awareness and funds to try and support research into the disease.

Hirschsprungs is a birth defect effecting a child’s abdomen which usually results in a length of bowel having to be surgically removed, depending on its severity.

Gemma, who is a mortgage advisor with the RBS based at the town centre branch, plus husband Ian, found that it was to date not medically possible in the UK to perform bowel transplants.

So the only option is to have a stoma fitted.

She said: “Riley was diagnosed when he was five days old, it was on this day that he had his first surgery to fit a temporary stoma and has had several operations since.

“Currently Riley, who is nearly two now, has been lucky enough to have the Stoma reversed.

“But whether this will be permanent we do not know yet but we are hopeful and grateful that we have got this far.

“Without the support of CHAMPS the journey that we have been on would have been even more difficult.

“It is an open website where parents can post questions and experiences and have the guidance of other mums and dads’ experiences.

“It is run by a lady from her home and really is invaluable.”

Tickets, priced £2 per strip, are available from borough branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland. For more information about the charity or to get involved in fund-raising contact or alternativley visit their facebook page.