SIGNING the consent forms for Aaron’s surgery was the hardest thing Jenny and David Gilmore had to do.
Jenny recalled, “The surgeon went through all the different things that could possibly go wrong. There were different things, but he obviously saved the worst for last.
“He told us about this artery that ran down the middle of Aaron’s forehead and there was a chance it could be stuck to the bone.
“If this was to tear, we were warned that there would be nothing the doctors could do and basically Aaron would die.
“Obviously we just wanted to stop the operation there and then and take him home the way he was, but the surgeon reassured us as best he could and told us he would treat Aaron as if he were his own child.
“By far that was the worst day ever. We knew in our hearts we had no choice and we had to put our trust in the medical professionals, but effectively we were signing our son’s life away.”
When Aaron was put to sleep, Jenny handed her precious baby son to the doctors. “It was horrendous as I was handing my flesh and blood over to complete strangers. We were devastated and inconsolable at that stage, but we prayed along with David’s parents Fran and Linda.
“We knew God was in control and we prayed and prayed that Aaron would be safe and brought back to us.”
While their son lay in theatre, the Gilmores walked around Oxford “like zombies” trying to work out in their heads when Aaron would be entering the critical stage of the operation.
They constantly checked their mobile phones and finally the call came at 3pm that Aaron was safe and had survived.
Their joy at being reunited with their precious son was swiftly brought back to reality though when they were met by doctors and nurses who warned them to be prepared for how Aaron would look.
“He didn’t look like our son, he was swollen and lying there rigged up to drains, drips, machines and connections. It was awful to see him like that.”
During this time, the family were given a room in the adjoining Ronald McDonald family accommodation which proved to be their lifeline during Aaron’s ordeal.
It is this charity the Gilmores would now like to help and they have arranged a series of fundraising events beginning with a five-aside football tournament.
Jenny said, “This event will be held on 9,10 and 11 August at Iveagh Park, Rathfriland and we are hoping for good support.
“This Ronald McDonald facility was amazing allowing us to be two minutes from Aaron’s bedside but a tranquil haven to get away from everything at the same time.
“We never thought we were ever going to need it. Children are admitted to this hospital every day and they will go through exactly the same ordeal as we did.
“Knowing that this facility is available is enough to drive us on to raise money to help others.
“We stared death in the face with Aaron but thankfully by the grace of God, the skill of surgeons and the dedication and love of all the staff, we have him here with us today.
“Aaron will turn two in November and we can never ever thank people enough for helping us. Our parents especially deserve the greatest thanks as we wouldn’t have got through this without them.
“We are just so lucky to have our son with us, healthy and doing everything a normal toddler does. He is our life and we love him with all our hearts.”