Pure joy shines out from the face of toddler George Thompson who has just had a fun-filled Christmas at home after spending almost half of his life in hospital.

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This time last year little George was fighting for survival.

As he was taken to hospital in an ambulance last Christmas Eve, his mother, Julie Biggs, 39, was told that he was highly unlikely to make it through the night.

She was given the same news on Christmas Day and for the next few months his life hung in the balance.

A hernia burst on George’s diaphragm causing his stomach to push up into his chest. His heart stopped beating for 27 minutes.

George, who is now two, beat the odds but has spent the last year at the Evelina Hospital, in London, receiving specialist treatment.

For months it was uncertain if he would live or die.

But George was discharged just a few days before Christmas and is now enjoying his freedom at his home in Fakenham where he lives with his mother, father Matthew Thompson, 44, and 17-year-old brother Archie.

George, who has a rare condition called short gut syndrome, is now be able to live at home with weekly appointments at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Miss Biggs said: “It’s absolutely amazing having George home and it was a brilliant Christmas. This time last year I was told my son was not expected to survive. We were preparing for Christmas and our whole world was turned upside down.

“So to see him now at home smiling and laughing and playing with his toys is just amazing. I feel that someone must have been looking down on George.”

While George was at the Evelina Hospital Miss Biggs was by his side for 12 hours every day.

She said: “It was very tough on the family. I had to give up work and so did George’s dad so we could be with him. Despite everything George has always been a very happy child. He’s always smiling and laughing. The nurses down in London said it was a pleasure to go into work every day to see his happy little face.

“He’s been even happier since he’s been home. It was a bit overwhelming for him at first but he’s really enjoying it now.”

George’s move home has been made possible by the fact that WellChild, a national charity for sick children, has funded a new post at Evelina Hospital.

Sue Donald is the Wellchild complex care discharge co-ordinator – a role specifically created to help seriously ill children with complex health needs to leave hospital and return home to their families.

She is co-ordinating George’s care and providing practical and emotional support for his family.

George is also receiving specialist support at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by children’s outreach nurse Julia Fothergill.

Miss Biggs, who moved to Fakenham in August, said: “I am so grateful to WellChild and all of the people who have looked after George. We’re starting to bring some normality back to our lives which is just fantastic after all we’ve been through.”

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