A WIVENHOE couple have paid an emotional tribute to their 16-month-old son who tragically died from a rare genetic condition.

Andrew Foster and Catherine Alport's son Rycroft died last month due to complications associated with a condition known as Shwachman Diamond Syndrome (SDS).

Doctors had initially identified potential problems with Rycroft’s health whilst his mother was pregnant, and he was then diagnosed with SDS – a condition which usually affects bone marrow and the pancreas – at three weeks old.

Mr Foster and Miss Alport were so blown away by the care they received from staff at Colchester and Great Ormond Street Hospitals that they then set up a crowdfunding page so they could thank the professionals who helped Rycroft during his short life.

So far more than £33,000 has been raised with £11,000 set to go to Colchester Hospital. 

Mr Foster said: "When a 16-month-old dies, they have not had a chance. Now people are hearing his name and hearing what he was like, it is a consolation.

"He was very happy, shouty, and good at working around his condition.

"The name helped. It was a bit like Madonna or Rihanna, everybody in the hospital knew Rycroft. They all fell in love with him.

"Everyone was devastated when he died - they could not believe it."

The couple now also want to raise awareness about SDS so people can donate bone marrow and potentially save the lives of those suffering from the condition. 

Mr Foster said: "We don’t see this point as the end – a lot of people have never thought of being a bone marrow donor because a lot of people don’t think about it until it’s too late.

"It’s raised a lot of questions in my mind about how we can help other children who are going through a similar journey."

Miss Alport added she and her partner considered how they were going to help others when Rycroft contracted an infection after a bone marrow transplant.

She said: "We were told on the Friday before Rycroft died the infection was a threat to life, and we sat outside Great Ormond Street Hospital and spoke about what legacy we wanted if we lost him.

"The fundraising is an acknowledgement of how brilliant the NHS is as an institution and we want to acknowledge the amazing care we have had."

With £11,000 set to go towards the children’s ward at Colchester Hospital, the second £11,000 will go to Great Ormond Street’s Fox ward, and the final £11,000 to go towards SDS UK, a charity which supports families who are affected by the condition.

Any further donations to Mr Foster’s and Miss Alport’s fundraiser can be made via: tinyurl.com/4n8vnb2c.