BARNSLEY’S community spirit has shone through this festive period with residents rallying together to make an ill youngster’s last Christmas as ‘magical’ as possible.
From raffle tickets to toy banks, the town’s community stopped at nothing this month to make 20-month-old Kyle Keen’s big day special.
The youngster was born at 24 weeks and immediately suffered two big bleeds on the brain, leading him to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
He was then diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) at just three-and-a-half weeks old and subsequent surgeries meant that he lost 75 per cent of his bowel.
He is now at home and despite his mum, Lyndsey Gough, admitting that this may be his last Christmas, she is still determined to make the most of it.
The 37-year-old, who is from Grimethorpe, told the Chronicle: “Everyone has been absolutely amazing and I would never been able to thank everyone enough for everything that they’ve done.
“People have been raising money and dressing up as Santa and coming to see Kyle - we’re trying to make everything as magical as possible because it’s likely to be his last Christmas.
“The donations have been great because having to be in the hospital with Kyle financially annihilated us - it hit us like a ton of bricks.”
More than £600 has been raised by Envious Tattoo studio in Grimethorpe after the business decided to hold a raffle for a full day in the studio.
Owner, 34-year-old Danielle Barton-Cottrell, said: “We’ve already delivered £600 to Lyndsey because we wanted to get as much to her as possible so she could make Kyle’s Christmas special.
“We’ve been through and taken them some balloons and vouchers for his mum so when she feels up it she can come in - the community really came together.”
Elsewhere in the town, Tony Batty, who runs Barnsley’s Toy Bank Appeal alongside Liam Hardcastle, has donated an array of presents to the family.
“We’ve sent some gifts for Kyle and his family because we just want to to give him a good Christmas,” he said.
“We’re trying to organise a trip somewhere for his family as well but that’s quite hard because of how young he is.”
Kyle was also diagnosed with mitochondria disease in July and as a result was unable to eat or drink - even bathing him was impossible in case water entered his system.
Then, a matter of weeks later, Kyle had sepsis - leaving him critically ill.
Kyle’s family were faced with the heartbreaking decision to turn down a bowel transplant and to instead spend Christmas with him - though Lyndsey is doing everything she can to make the day ‘magical’.
“When he was sent to the children’s hospital he had sepsis but he managed to overcome that,” Lyndsey added. “His health has been up and down and he had to be fed through a tube in his nose - it started to get worse when he began having seizures.
“Last December he had a big seizure which caused him to have a cardiac arrest at home and he was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital and put on life support.
“When he woke up on Christmas Day last year he couldn’t see as he’d gone blind.
“As a family we decided to decline the bowel transplant because we wanted to spend Christmas with him.
“It’s not an option we wanted to take because it meant he might not have been able to see his brothers and sisters - sadly it does mean that when gets another infection it’s likely to be his last Christmas.
“The support we’ve received has been brilliant, we’ve even had people from all over donating money and food parcels - I’ll never be able to thank everybody enough for everything.
“All of the nurses and doctors have been amazing, too.”