Watch inspirational four-year-old with rare condition arrive for first day of school

Xander's condition, called an imperforated anus, is life-threatening if left untreated, putting the

Xander's condition, called an imperforated anus, is life-threatening if left untreated, putting the infant at risk of infection and possible perforation of the bowel Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

An inspirational four-year-old boy who has endured five major operations in his lifetime has marked his first day at primary school – much to the delight of family and friends.

Alexander Pickering, known as Xander, was just an hour old when a nurse at Colchester Hospital noticed there was no opening in his bottom, meaning he could not pass waste.

He was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening condition, called an imperforated anus, which puts the infant at risk of infection and possible perforation of the bowel if left untreated.

Xander, who lives in Little Clacton, was taken to the Royal London Children’s Hospital at one day old for an operation to create a colostomy.

Since then, he has been back for four further surgeries – and used a colostomy bag for 15 months before a second operation created an opening in his bottom.

Four-year-old Alexander Pickering (centre), known as Xander, with his mum Kiera and older brothers T

Four-year-old Alexander Pickering (centre), known as Xander, with his mum Kiera and older brothers Theo and Jacob (right), ahead of his first day of school at Engaines Primary School in Little Clacton Picture: JOE GIDDENS/PA WIRE - Credit: PA


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During his most recent surgery in June, an ACE stoma bag was created meaning he can pass waste at home daily.

Now the youngster, who lives with father Mark Pickering, 37, mother Kiera Pickering, 32, and his brothers Jacob, eight, and Theo, seven, has reached a major milestone.

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“Xander is really looking forward to starting school because he wants to be a ‘big boy’ like his brothers,” said Mrs Pickering, a doctor’s surgery receptionist, as her youngest son joined his two brothers at Engaines Primary School yesterday.

“For months, he’s been telling us that he is getting taller and asking whether he is big enough to go to school yet.

Xander was taken to the Royal London Children's Hospital at one day old for an operation to create a

Xander was taken to the Royal London Children's Hospital at one day old for an operation to create a colostomy Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

“Starting school is a huge milestone for us.”

Mr Pickering said Xander’s condition was “life-changing” but they had got used to life with it.

“He knows everything he goes through,” he said. “We don’t hide anything from him.

“We’re not looking for sympathy – it’s just to make people aware.”

Four year old Alexander Pickering (second right), with his dad Mark, mum Kiera and older brothers Th

Four year old Alexander Pickering (second right), with his dad Mark, mum Kiera and older brothers Theo and Jacob (centre), ahead of his first day of school at Engaines Primary School Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

He added: “In himself he’s amazing, he’s magical.

“He does everything everyone else can do. Nothing can stop him.

“He’s been out learning to ride his bike without stabilisers.”

The family were supported with accommodation by The Sick Children’s Trust throughout Xander’s hospital treatment, and Mrs Pickering said she feels “so grateful” to them.

The four-year-old was just an hour old when a nurse at Colchester Hospital noticed there was no open

The four-year-old was just an hour old when a nurse at Colchester Hospital noticed there was no opening in his bottom, meaning he could not pass waste Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

According to NHS data, anorectal malformations affect around one in 5,000 babies.

The youngster has started school after a series of major operations Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The youngster has started school after a series of major operations Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Four year old Alexander Pickering arrives at Engaines Primary School in Little Clacton for his first

Four year old Alexander Pickering arrives at Engaines Primary School in Little Clacton for his first day, with his older brothers Theo (left) and Jacob (right) Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Four-year-old Alexander Pickering, known as Xander, on his way to school Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wir

Four-year-old Alexander Pickering, known as Xander, on his way to school Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Four year old Alexander Pickering, known as Xander, who has had five major operations since he was b

Four year old Alexander Pickering, known as Xander, who has had five major operations since he was born with a rare and life-threatening condition, arrives at Engaines Primary School in Little Clacton for his first day. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday September 10, 2018. See PA story HEALTH Xander. He was just an hour old when a nurse at Colchester Hospital noticed there was no opening in his bottom, meaning he could not pass waste. The condition, called an imperforated anus, is life-threatening if left untreated, putting the infant at risk of infection and possible perforation of the bowel. Xander was taken to the Royal London Childrens Hospital at one day old for an operation to create a colostomy and he has been back for four further surgeries. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

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