Updated: Wednesday 16 September 2020

When Curtis was just three days old the Thomson family were told he had a rare liver condition. He was referred to specialists in Kings College Hospital in London where, at 19 days old, he underwent a 12-hour operation.  

During his surgery, it was found that he had had no gall-bladder, three spleens, heart defects a twisted bowel and missing arteries and veins.  

Curtis’ mother, Nikki said: “It was the scariest thing we had ever been through as a family.”  

After enduring the 12-hour operation, Curtis’ family were told that he would need a liver transplant, but it was not clear when in his life he would need this lifesaving treatment. 

Nikki added: “We were scared and worried about Curtis. He was so tiny and already had so much to fight against.” 

Curtis spent most of the first year of his life in hospital and at nine months old the family suffered another setback after he picked up an infection which developed into septicaemia.  

“He wasn’t responding to any treatment and at one stage they told us to prepare ourselves and say our goodbyes. But in true Curtis spirit, he pulled through.”  

After making a slow recovery, Curtis suffered a significant internal bleed in February 2015 and was rushed into hospital.  

“He was now showing signs of chronic liver failure. His liver was hardening and his spleens were at risk of further bleeds, leaving him very vulnerable to infections as he had no immune system.”  

In November 2016, the family received the news that Curtis would need a liver transplant very soon.  

“When his consultant told us that Curtis was ready for the transplant I was shocked. I didn’t see it coming and I remember looking at the doctor in disbelief. I felt faint and sick.  

“Whilst the wheels were put in motion for Curtis’ transplant, it was decided to delay the process until March 2017 as I was expecting baby number four.”  

On March 29 2017, Curtis passed the transplant assessments and went live on the list.  

“We were told not to go further than 30 minutes away from our house because the call could come at any time and an ambulance would arrive and blue light us to London.  

“I can honestly say the wait was one of the worst times for us, each day hoping that the phone would ring. All we want as parents is for our children to have the long life that they deserve.”  

As the days went by, Curtis began to deteriorate to the point where he would only attend school every other day.  

“We hoped our prayers would soon be answered before he got too poorly or that another bout of septicaemia stripped him of what little strength his fragile body had left.” 

After 280 days, the family’s prayers were answered and at 7:30am on 3 January 2018 the phone rang.  

“I knew it was them and was almost too terrified to answer. The voice on the phone said they had a suitable liver for Curtis and they wanted us to come to London immediately. As we frantically prepared for our trip we were called back and told that an ambulance was en-route and instead of taking us to London we would be driven straight to the Wales Air Ambulance airbase in Llanelli. 

It was a difficult goodbye to Curtis’ dad who had to stay home with his brothers Connor (14), Joshua (2) and Finley (11 months). Because the risk of complications during surgery was so high the family were told that he may not survive the operation. Curtis’ dad had to say goodbye not knowing if he would see his little boy again.  

Nikki said: “I was scared as I sat in the ambulance, knowing I would be alone with Curtis through all of this. 

“We arrived promptly at the Wales Air Ambulance base and the crew were there to meet us. Curtis was treated like royalty. He was shown around the other helicopter and was so excited, me not so much. The crew made him comfy with his teddy and a Wales Air Ambulance mascot toy. 

“I was so impressed by how they treated him, they got down to his level and reassured us both. After a swift 60-minute flight we were on the helipad at Kings College hospital safely.” 

On 4 January, Curtis received his liver transplant.  

“During his surgery, his Wales Air Ambulance toy didn’t leave his side.” 

After spending almost three weeks in hospital, Curtis was told he could go home.  

“Our only means of getting home was by train, which was a risk as Curtis had a compromised immune system. I was stunned by the kindness of the Wales Air Ambulance who offered to bring him home, avoiding a 7-hour train journey.”  

On Friday 26 January, Curtis returned home and was flown back to the Wales Air Ambulance base in Llanelli.  

Curtis continues to recover well at home with his three brothers.  

 ”He now aspires to be a pilot when he’s older, and a doctor and Father Christmas.”