Generous pubgoers raise cash to help Portsmouth toddler walk

HOPEFUL Mother Melanie Davies, 22, with Brandon Conway, 18 months and father Andy Conway.     Picture: Malcolm Wells (111930-4215)
HOPEFUL Mother Melanie Davies, 22, with Brandon Conway, 18 months and father Andy Conway. Picture: Malcolm Wells (111930-4215)

Toy store donates £8,000 to QA Hospital

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YOUNG Brandon Conway may soon be able to walk after pub regulars raised money to buy life-changing clothing.

Staff at The Alexandra, Wingfield Street, Buckland, Portsmouth, held a fundraiser for the 18-month-old.

He suffered from a stroke days after being born at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.

It has left him battling with restricted movement on his left side, poor vision, epilepsy and he is unable to crawl or walk.

But his parents Melanie Davies and Andy Conway are hoping a body vest, which will stimulate his muscles, will help him lead a normal life.

The pub raised £1,500 – £500 of which has gone towards the body vest – through a karaoke and raffle night.

Melanie, 22, of Copnor Road, Copnor, looks after Brandon full time. She said: ‘I’m really grateful to the pub for all they have done to raise the money. And I want to thank dockyard workers who work with my dad as they raised money too.

‘If the vest works this could change Brandon’s life.’

The family first found out Brandon had had a stroke after a head scan.

‘After he was born his left side didn’t seem to be working and he wasn’t taking feed properly,’ said Melanie.

‘I didn’t even know babies could have strokes and wasn’t expecting the doctors to say that.

‘I was so shocked and didn’t know how to deal with it or how it would affect Brandon in the future.

‘With his left arm he’s not aware of it and can move it, but doesn’t do anything with it.

‘He doesn’t use his left arm for anything, he doesn’t reach out and he doesn’t grip.’

Melanie’s father Steve Patrick, 59, of Wingfield Street, is a regular at the pub.

Manager Pauline Hannam said: ‘Each year the pub holds a fundraiser and we pick a different cause to donate money to.

‘After hearing about baby Brandon from Steve we decided we would help the family.

‘We had a disco, karaoke and games to raise money.’

Brandon will now be measured for the suit, and if it’s successful, the NHS will pay for further suits.

Huw Jones, neo-natologist consultant at QA, said: ‘In 10 years of working in Portsmouth I have seen three cases of strokes in babies.

‘It occurs in one in every 2,500 to 5,000 births, not all are diagnosed early on and some would be clinically sound.

‘The key difference is with infants they have a better chance of recovery that adults.’