Delight as poorly Wigan tot celebrates first birthday

A daredevil Wigan dad will take to the skies to raise money for the medical team that saved his baby’s life.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 8:16 am
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 9:24 am

Joe Sankey, from Ince, will be raising money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in June, with a skydive from 11,000ft, in gratitude for their tireless efforts to help his one-year-old son Rocco.

Rocco was just nine days old when, last April, he was diagnosed with stage five kidney failure, caused by cystic renal dysplasia.

Since then, the tiny tot has had countless appointments at the RMCH, including four operations in the first nine months of his life – two related to his condition and a further two for a hernia and tongue tie.

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Rocco with mum and dad

Rocco has faced many battles in his life already, has had six stays in hospital and there is a possibility he’ll need a kidney transplant in future. But despite all this Rocco remains a delightful, smiley baby who melts hearts wherever he goes.

Dad Joe said: “It all started when he was nine days old. We were referred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and he had a scan, where they told us his kidneys were half the size they should be. He was fine at first, but then in November his weight was still really small and he couldn’t keep food in him.

“He’s been in for so many hospital appointments but he’s always a smiley baby – everyone notices it.”

Rocco weighed only 5lb 4oz at birth, and will soon have a fifth operation to have a gastrostomy inserted - a tube which feeds nutrition directly to his stomach. It’s hoped this will help him gain weight and keep food inside him.

Rocco is a born fighter

Once Rocco is able to gain weight and grow stronger, the next stage will be to discuss options for a kidney transplant.

Joe said: “He’s one year old today but people tell us he looks more like a three-month-old – he’s really tiny.

“We didn’t like the idea of a gastrostomy at first, but we met another mum whose child had one and she said she wished she’d had it done sooner – so that really reassured us. It was helpful to meet someone who been through something similar.”

Joe, 29, said: “Even though he’s been through a lot he never stops smiling. You would think he’d be scared of hospitals but he loves going for cuddles with all the doctors and nurses.”

Joe has been so thankful for all the help and support Rocco has received from the renal team at RMCH, he’s now gearing up for a skydive with friend Sam Rimmer.

The two friends will be part of a team of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity supporters doing the jump in June.

Joe is also hosting a charity race night at Ince Rose Bridge Sports and Community Club on Saturday, April 27 at 7pm. There will be nine races, raffles, auctions, bingo and a pitch and toss.

To donate to Joe’s fundraising visit