In episode six, Paul meets four-year-old Lucy from Glasgow, who has travelled to GOSH for her latest check-up. Lucy was born with a heart defect and needed major heart surgery at birth. To control the blood pressure in her lungs, Lucy receives medication 24/7 intravenously via her little pink backpack, which she carries around all day with her.
Eight months ago, Lucy had a stent fitted at GOSH to increase the blood flow to her lungs and as a result of the surgery she has since been able to start reducing her medication. After relying on his best Donald Duck impression to make her smile, Paul accompanies Lucy for a heart echo procedure to check on her progress,
Paul says: “She’s such a lovely little girl, hopefully soon she can get rid of that backpack. She’s full of beans.”
The results are very encouraging and Lucy is soon chasing Paul up and down the hospital corridor on her pink scooter.
In the isolation ward, Paul meets 13-year-old Connor and his mum, Jules. Connor has having treatment at GOSH since he was aged 4 and is currently in isolation because he is starting a new round of chemo.
Connor’s mum Jules says: “I call him my warrior, he gets on with it, he fights and his motto is, he’s never going to give up. He’s going to beat it.”
Jules sleeps in the isolation room with her son but due to the fear of infection, other external visitors are excluded, including Paul, who tries to cheer Connor up through the glass window wearing headphones. The following day Connor is having a bone marrow transplant thanks to a bone marrow donor who was found in the US. Paul tells him: “Conor, you might wake up with an American accent!”
Also this week, Paul agrees to work a shift in the decontamination unit and dons a hairnet for cleaning hospital toys. As he starts scrubbing the lego bricks, Paul says: “If I’d known I would have brought my washing!”
Paul also catches up with some old friends, including Mackenzie who is visiting after his previous ear reconstruction surgery, and five-year-old Taheem, who was born with a syndrome affecting multiple organs including his kidneys. Taheem required daily dialysis which his mum Aida had learnt to do herself. Taheem has some exciting news – a kidney donor has been found and his kidney transplant has been booked in, meaning the end of the dialysis. Paul waits with Aida as the operation gets underway and follows Taheem’s complex recovery.
Paul says: “The kids are great, they act like nothing’s wrong with them, even the seriously ill children. I tell you what they’ve got, bottle. They are so strong-minded these children and that’s what we can learn from.”
Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes – Thursday at 8.30pm on ITV.