Derbyshire mum praises miracle survival of Down's Syndrome son who has battled cancer, sepsis and kidney problems

Devoted mum Olga Burrows has faced every mother's worst nightmare five times after being told that her son might not survive his health issues.

By Gay Bolton
Monday, 7th February 2022, 1:20 pm

Yet her son, Shaun Gratton who has Down's Syndrome, rallied and continues to amaze his family with his determination. Olga said: "He's a fighter and keeps coming round.....it's like a miracle."

"He was 54 on January 17 - we never thought he would make 44.

"Each time when they give you the diagnosis that he might not pull through is awful. We've had to prepare ourselves and think about funerals."

Olga Burrows and her son Shaun Gratton.

Shaun's ordeal started in 2013 when he was on holiday in St Ives and his leg swelled up. He was found to have five blood clots and six months later was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The cancer spread to his aorta where he was found to have a tumour the size of a baseball.

Retired nurse Olga, 77, said: "We were warned that if it grew any bigger he could have a cardiac arrest."

Prior to chemotherapy, Shaun's lungs and kidneys collapsed and his family were told by a consultant that he might not survive.

Shaun with Olga at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, in 2015.

He developed an abscess near his kidney, his tongue and throat swelled up. Olga said: "We were told by intensive care unit, don't be surprised if during the night we have to take him to theatre for tracheotomy and he dies on the table - he never had to have a tracheotomy."

But Shaun did have one of his kidneys removed at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital where Olga said: "His blood pressure dropped and they nearly lost him.”

Then it was discovered that Shaun's other kidney had got a pointed staghorn stone in it. Olga said: "The doctor told us that the kidney could collapse when they went into it. They took the kidney stone out and he survived again.

"Last year Shaun went into Chesterfield Royal Hospital with sepsis in his knee. When he was in hospital the sister said his organs are going down and he's not going to make it...but he did.

Shaun Gratton

"For Shaun to go in hospital and into intensive care and go through all he goes, he doesn't realise he could die...he knows that when he's been in there, they've made him better and he's coming home."

That fighting spirit has seen Shaun defy medical professionals who warned his mum and stepdad Harry that he may never walk again. He now manages to walk with the help of a zimmer frame.

But the restrictions of Covid have meant that trips out of the family home near Ashover are few and far between.

Olga said: "For two years, apart from ambulance taking him to hospital, Shaun has been restricted to the house and he's gone really really quiet. While he's been in his bedroom he's been doing adult colouring books. When he's done these, we cut them out, my niece takes the workings out of clocks and we stick the pictures in the clock frame. We've been auctioning them on Facebook and Shaun's made £350 for Ashgate Hospice.

Shaun Gratton with one of the pictures that he is selling for Ashgate Hospice which helped him in his recovery from testicular cancer.

"He spends hours doing these pictures and he's doing it for the hospice because that's where he was helped in recovery from testicular cancer. He went every Friday as a day case for about two years until he was in remission."

Jack Wood, head of fundraising at Ashgate Hospice, said: “We cannot thank Shaun enough for donating the money from the sales of his wonderful pictures to our charity. We need to raise £7m a year to help families across north Derbyshire who are living with a life-limiting illness and we can’t do this without people coming up with such wonderful fundraising ideas like this.

Not only is Shaun helping to spread joy to those who buy his art, but he’s also helping to fund crucial hospice care for people in his local community,"

To bid for the pictures, visit Shaun's Fundraising For Ashgate Hospice page on Facebook.

READ THIS: Derbyshire schoolboy who lost legs to sepsis is chosen to attend new holiday camp for amputees

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Shaun Gratton