Brave Ben just keeps on smiling

A BRAVE youngster is back home and smiling just days after undergoing a major operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children.Ben McMillan, of Reydon, near Southwold, is only four years old but has already had more than 50 hospital appointments and numerous operations.

By David Lennard

A BRAVE youngster is back home and smiling just days after undergoing a major operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children.

Ben McMillan, of Reydon, near Southwold, is only four years old but has already had more than 50 hospital appointments and numerous operations. His latest involved removing a lump of bone from his forehead – caused by a condition known as cranial stenosis.

Despite these hardships the plucky youngster always has a smile on his face and his cheerful personality captures the hearts of everyone he meets.


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For his mother Donna, the past few days have been a huge strain as she has seen her son undergo such a major operation.

"Basically the surgeons had to cut across Ben's scalp from ear to ear so that they could remove a lump of bone on his forehead to give him a more natural appearance," she said.

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Ben suffers from cranial stenosis, as well as speed delay and short stature, severely limiting his development. He still weighs less than two stone.

He still has to see specialists in the future about possible treatment to his eyes and to combat his slow growth rate but the operation, carried out at the top London hospital last week, is a major hurdle he has overcome.

"I was more upset and worried than Ben was and it was simply amazing to see how brave he was as he was being prepared for theatre," said Donna.

"He had the operation on Monday and was really feeling quite low the following day until some circus clowns came round the high dependency ward to see him and that really cheered him up," she said.

Ben made such a good recovery that doctors allowed him home at the end of the week and he is now looking forward to returning to nursery school in the coming weeks.

"There has been no holding him back and he is back to his normal happy self.

"In fact I am having trouble trying to make sure he does not fall and injure his head," said Donna.

The stitches in Ben's head are beginning to dissolve and soon the scar will fade away.

"The operation has been a complete success and I am sure having the lump removed will give Ben more confidence as he gets older," said Donna.

One thing Ben is not short of is the love that his mother Donna and her parents shower on the youngster.

"He can be naughty just like any other little boy but he really is lovely," said Donna.

The youngster was more than happy to pose for photographs and even had a go at taking a picture of EADT photographer James Fletcher.

"He simply loves having his photograph taken and is very photogenic.

"He is a very special little boy," said proud grandmother Doreen McMillan.

The family have been helped with the regular trips to Great Ormond Street by a £500 donation from the Reydon Trust.

"We are very grateful for the way the Reydon Trust has supported my daughter and Ben," said Doreen.

Anyone calling at the family home is likely to be greeted by a happy little boy with a huge grin on his face who is determined to make the best of every situation.

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