The festive season is looking brighter for a Belhar teen and his family as Cole Macleod goes from strength to strength following a successful double lung transplant earlier this year.
Cole, 16, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at just three months old and has faced many medical challenges over the years, spending extended periods in hospital. But since his bilateral lung transplant on August 5 at Groote Schuur Hospital, he can breathe easier.
His mother, Joleen Macleod, said this Christmas would be one to celebrate as during their holidays last year, Cole was seriously ill.
“Cole had been very sick last year around the end of November when he was still in hospital, and while he was at home on Christmas he was still very ill. When he was admitted back to hospital on January 3, the doctors realised they would have to try to speed up the process of getting a transplant done as his lungs were deteriorating very fast with every infection he had.
“He was transferred from Red Cross (War Memorial Children’s Hospital) to Groote Schuur, where he again had to undergo a programme to get him to the weight he needed to be, and maintain it, so he could make it onto the waiting list. It was a challenging time for us as a family.
“He had a portable oxygen machine and our greatest concern was load shedding for extensive periods as he needed the machine to aid his breathing. It was a struggle,” said Joleen.
That was until the call came when a donor was confirmed and Cole was to be admitted to hospital the next morning for the double transplant.
“Even that morning, Cole was struggling, he couldn’t walk five steps.”
Five months after the transplant, Joleen said watching her son be able to participate in activities with his siblings has been a special experience.
“We were on holiday recently and he could run and play cricket with his brother without the assistance of a machine. He could go swimming, even underwater, and just be a teenager.”
Cole said he is happy to be “breathing normally”. “I’m amazed at what I am able to do now. I have the most amazing doctors. I will always be grateful to the donor and family for the special gift they gave me,” said Cole.