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Chance of new life for smiling Sonny

PUBLISHED: 11:51 29 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:58 16 September 2010

TRANSPLANT tot Sonny Docwra should be just weeks into a three-month stay in a hospital isolation ward with only his parents visiting under strict conditions.

TRANSPLANT tot Sonny Docwra should be just weeks into a three-month stay in a hospital isolation ward with only his parents visiting under strict conditions.

Instead the little boy is smiling and playing at home, medics ranking his recovery from a life-improving bone marrow transplant in the top three of the thousands they have carried out.

This week his mother Donna Docwra of Southtown, Great Yarmouth, said she was hugely grateful to experts who look to have given Sonny, who is two in October, a good chance of a normal life.

Although not billed as a cure, the transplant has had a near miraculous effect on some of the symptoms of MPS1 Hurler's Syndrome that affects Sonny - such as laboured breathing and a constantly runny nose.

And early tests seem to show, she added, that Sonny is now making the missing enzyme whose deficiency was causing the rare condition and affecting his development.

Although the new bone marrow cannot undo the damange done to his skeleton, hearing and heart, the family hope Sonny will soon catch up and hopefully take his first steps.

Meanwhile, he remains in semi-isolation at home and it will probably be around nine months before he is back with chums at nursery.

Strict hygiene rules mean shoes are changed for slippers, hands, faces and surfaces are regularly washed and visitors are restricted to close family only. For Sonny and his mum it means a walk round the block is the only chance to get outside and for seven-year-old brother Jay questions about why he has to wash his hands before and after eating a packet of crisps.

Just weeks ago Sonny was facing preparatory radiation to destroy his immune system and three months in isolation to keep him free from infection and the setbacks that dog most children's recoveries. His plight triggered local fundraising to help his family shoulder the finanical burden of being by his bedside.

But so far Sonny has astounded everyone with his progress, sailing through his treatment, only staying in hospital for a total of five weeks, the loss of his soft baby locks the only apparent side effect.

Mrs Docwra said she was delighted the family were back together.

Sonny still needs fortnightly checks at the Manchester hospital that carried out the transplant and visits to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston in between.

And there are still many hurdles to clear before his family can be sure of the outcome they are hoping for.

The family hope to donate a sizeable amount to MPS1 related charities.

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