Brave Hugo’s charity feat

BFP.'Three year old Hugo Smith enjoys a bowl of freshly cooked pasta.'114140c. Picture Kevin Allen.'11/10/11.
BFP.'Three year old Hugo Smith enjoys a bowl of freshly cooked pasta.'114140c. Picture Kevin Allen.'11/10/11.

A BRAVE youngster who spent the first years of his life being fed through a tube due to a life-threatening condition has completed an amazing feat for charity.

Little Hugo Smith, of St Cuthbert Road, Bridlington, was born in 2008 weighing just 2lbs and suffering from a condition which prevented him from eating or breathing properly.

Doctors feared the worst, but the plucky youngster defied the odds.

And to prove how far he has come he recently took part in a sponsored ‘all you can eat’ to raise money for the charity that helps him through his illness.

Completing a sponsored eat is a remarkable accomplishment for Hugo – now three-and-a-half – as he was fed through a tube for the first two years of his life and still needs regular operations to make sure he can swallow properly.

Proud mum Kimberley said: “Hugo was born with a rare congenital condition called tofs, where there is a large gap in the oesophagus and therefore he was unable to swallow.

“His airway also joined just above his stomach so every time he took a breath, the air got pushed into his stomach and got trapped. All the stomach acid got pushed into his lungs – so he was drowning with every breath that he took.

“He needed life-saving surgery and we were told it would be a miracle if he managed to survive.”

Hugo’s family were supported through their difficult time by the charity TOFS (Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula Support).

Kimberley was keen to give something back when she hit upon the idea of a sponsored all you can eat, or ‘Tof Scoff’.

Hugo was joined in his charity attempt by fellow tofs sufferer, three-year-old Frances Unfworth of County Durham, who was treated on the same ward at the same time as Hugo in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and the families became firm friends.

Frances has also made remarkable progress and the two families met up at Scarborough’s Pizza Hut for the sponsored Tof Scoff, which raised £280 for the charity.

Kimberley said: “The idea was to celebrate how far they have both come with their eating, as they both used to struggle and have both had very different journeys along the way but have made such fantastic progress.

“They both did amazingly well and between them they managed to eat half a pizza, half a plate of pasta, a range of salad and garlic bread.”

Hugo’s recovery is still ongoing and in a fortnight he will undergo the tenth operation of his short life.

Surgery has left the youngster with scar tissue inside his throat and his condition means that his oesophagus constantly narrows over time, so regular operations are needed to stretch it out again.

He will have the operation under general anaesthetic at Hull Royal Infirmary.

Kimberley said: “It is a minor operation but they do have to put a camera and other instruments down his throat so he will have a sore throat for a while afterwards.

“We just have to be very careful with him.

“But despite everything that he has been through, he is the happiest child I know.”