AN 11-YEAR-OLD was treated to the holiday-of-a-lifetime thanks to a caring doctor who put him forward for the dream trip.
Joseph Riggs went on a Dreamflight holiday to Orlando in Florida, after being nominated by Queen Alexandra Hospital consultant paediatrician Hannah Buckley, who has known him for the past 11 years.
We are so grateful to Hannah for nominating Joseph and to Dreamflight for such an incredible experienceKate Riggs
It comes as Joseph has spent his life in and out of the Cosham hospital after being diagnosed with overgrowth disorder Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome, and bowel problem Hirschsprung’s disease.
He also suffers ulcerative colitis, making him prone to bleeding and ulcers on his colon.
Speaking after the trip, Joseph, from Hilsea in Portsmouth, said: ‘The thought of going away without my mum was really scary at first, but I made a best friend.
‘Dreamflight is the best thing I have ever done and I loved every single day so much. I can’t stop watching the DVD of pictures. I miss everyone so much.’
Hannah, clinical director for paediatrics, said despite all his illnesses, Joseph is always smiling and that is why she nominated him.
‘Joseph unfortunately has to cope with a number of devastating illnesses that will affect the rest of his life,’ she said.
‘He and his mum Kate have spent the past 11 years in and out of QA, and despite the challenges, Joseph is a pleasure to be around. He deserved this trip.’
Joseph was born four weeks early and two days after his birth, he was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease, which is when the nerves that make the bowel work are missing. He was also diagnosed with Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome, which meant he had an abnormally large tongue that affected his breathing.
Kate said: ‘I had to turn my dining room into a ward and have night nurses four nights a week because Joseph needed attention every hour. But despite the endless list of challenges he faces every day, he is the happiest child.
‘He never complains. He just gets on with life and enjoys it the best that he can. He is an inspiration.’
Over the past 11 years Joseph has had more than 15 operations and 50 general anaesthetic procedures.
He joined 191 other seriously ill and disadvantaged children, on the trip to Florida funded by Dreamflight.
Kate added: ‘He has achieved and seen things in that 10-day trip that he couldn’t have even dreamt of before.
‘We are so grateful to Hannah for nominating Joseph and to Dreamflight for such an incredible experience.’