Jodie Morgan’s son Louie George Wood was born prematurely at 28 weeks and has quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy, periventricular leukomalacia (a type of brain injury in which cysts form on the brain) and global developmental delay.
He has since defied doctors - last year saying ‘mum’ after Jodie was told he would never speak - and this year the family celebrated another milestone as a fundraising campaign set up to pay for his treatment and vital home adaptations hit £50,000.
The family’s final push this year was an appearance at Oakwell ahead of Barnsley’s match at home to West Brom on Boxing Day, with Jodie, partner Tom and Louie’s eight-year-old brother Jake joining the three-year-old in meeting fans and receiving donations.
But Jodie admitted she struggled to ‘put on a big smile’ on the day, after she started emergency iron infusion treatment for kidney disease a week earlier - bringing problems that started during her pregnancy to a head.
“It’s not been a good year for myself, but we’ll hopefully have a much better 2020,” said Jodie, 33, of Greenside, Mapplewell.
“We set the target of £40,000 initially but we smashed through that, so I said let’s dare to be brave and aim for £50,000.
“It hasn’t fully settled in yet. We can’t thank everybody enough for coming together and supporting us.
“It’s ended the year on a good note.
“It’s not something you ever envisage, that you’ll have to fundraise for your own family, but it restores your faith in humanity when so many people come out to support you.
“We can’t take Louie’s cerebral palsy away from him, but we can make his life better.”
While pregnant, Jodie had hyperemesis gravidarum - a condition with no obvious cause leading to nausea, vomiting and dehydration - which meant that she couldn’t manage her pre-existing diabetes and led to her kidney problems.
She will have her first dialysis meeting in January.
“I’ve got a lot of appointments coming up, which is added stress to deal with,” she said. “But I’ve got a lot of support and will get through it.
“We’re in hospital every day, whether it’s Northern General for me or Sheffield Children’s Hospital for Louie.
“A lot of it’s unknown at the minute, and that’s the worst part. Once I know what the score actually is, I can come up with some kind of plan.”
Jodie and Tom still managed to give Louie and Jake a Christmas to remember, taking them on a ride on the Polar Express train at Wensleydale.
“It’s natural as a parent to not look after yourself as you put your child first all the time,” said Jodie.
“It’s not just a switch you can flick. It’s hard, it would be for anybody.
“We find it hard to spend money on ourselves. It took a lot for me to take a step back and say we still need to enjoy things now.
“Every penny has gone towards Louie’s treatment but he still needs his memories.”
The family’s total goal is around £120,000, with specialist treatment only available in the United States costing £80,000 and the rest needed to make adaptations to their home.
Jodie added: “Even something as simple as a car seat is about £3,000. The main thing is getting Louie his surgery, and £50,000 is a big step towards that.”