A Wigan schoolboy born with serious heart defects was “over the moon” to be whisked away on the trip of a lifetime to Lapland.
Tyler Boyle, seven, has been in and out of hospital his entire life after he was born with numerous heart defects which require continuous treatment and monitoring.
Suffering from hypoplastic right heart, tricuspid atresia and ventricle septic defect (VSD), which have led to various malformations in his heart, Tyler has now been fitted with a pacemaker to help regulate his heartbeat.
Last month Tyler’s mum, Abbey Billinge, received a phone call from children’s charity Northernlights to inform her that her son had been chosen to visit Santa’s Town for a pre-Christmas break.
“He absolutely loved it,” she said. “They went on snowmobiles and were pulled by husky dogs to visit Santa’s town.
“He has asked if we can go back next year. When they rang I was quite shocked, I thought he had been put on a waiting list.
“I didn’t believe it at first until we went to a meeting with them.
“At first he said he didn’t want to go if we weren’t going but by the time he got on the coach he wasn’t even bothered he just waved us goodbye.”
Due to the severity of his conditions, the Ince CE pupil spent the first years of his life having to visit Alder Hey Children’s Hospital once every four weeks, meaning he missed out on a large amount of his schooling.
After years of treatment and since having his pacemaker fitted, Tyler, his mum and his dad Chris who also have an eight-year-old daughter Alysha, are looking forward to a year much closer to normality than they have become accustomed to.
“He is two years behind where he should be in school because of all the time he has missed,” Abbey added. “But he still does everything like a normal child. He just can’t play any contact sports. He didn’t do PE at school but they have gradually built him up now to get him into a routine.
“You wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with him though.
“He is quite small for his age, he is in age four to five clothes and some of them are big on him.”
The trip to Lapland came about after staff at Alder Hey nominated Tyler to take part along with 20 other children with life-limiting illnesses.
Tyler, who is a firm believer in Santa, has also been given a memory box full of trinkets to remember his special holiday, as well as bringing back a bag of reindeer food for next Christmas Eve.
“There’s not enough to say to Northernlights for everything they have done,” said Abbey. It’s a once in a lifetime chance. He will always remember it and hopefully when he has his own children he can tell them all about it.”