COLAC district toddler William Reilly is out of medical isolation after a life-saving transplant in time to welcome a new brother.
William, the son of Pirron Yallock’s Anna and Chris Reilly, is out of isolation after a bone marrow transplant seven months ago, and on the road to recovery.
A bone marrow failure had destroyed William’s immune system and meant he was unable to visit public places in case of infection.
Mrs Reilly said the two-year-old had finally been able to socialise with other children, including his healthy new two-month-old brother Luke.
“He’s been able to play with his cousins. He’s able to run around and play, he’s able to be around well people,” she said.
“He’s been to the library for the first time; he’s been to the supermarket for the first time.
“I took him to Target for the first time. He was so excited. They’re such experiences for him; he’s just taking it all in.”
William spent more than half his life in hospital, and had 42 blood transfusions and 26 platelet transfusions before his recovery began.
He now only needs to visit doctors in Melbourne for a monthly check-up.
“He hasn’t needed another blood transfusion since March,” Mrs Reilly said.
“He’s still on about 14 medications a day and he’s pretty good at taking those, the tube’s come out of his nose, and he had a tube in his chest and that’s come out,” she said.
“He’s just like a normal boy now, except for all the drugs. Hopefully all the medications will have stopped in the next 12 months.
“Potentially once he’s off all his medication, he’ll be able to live his life like a normal boy with no major complications,” Mrs Reilly said.
“There’s some potential long-term side effects of the medications, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
The transplant, in the form of a transfusion, meant an eight-week stay in an isolated hospital room for William, as well as chemotherapy to remove William’s existing bone marrow, but Mrs Reilly said the toddler had coped well.
“All the staff were like ‘gee, he just cruised through’, which was really lucky because it could have gone the other way,” she said.
“He’s doing really well, his hair’s grown back from the chemo. He lost all his hair with the chemo, but he was incredible.”
Mrs Reilly said she would be forever grateful to William’s bone marrow donor and she said she would write an anonymous letter to the donor through the blood bank.
“Words can’t describe it. Thank you is not enough to that person,” she said.
“They’ve completely changed his life and given him back a life, really.
“It’s pretty amazing what this one person has done for him, along with all the 70 or so others that have donated blood along the way.”