Keith Mitchell vividly remembers Father’s Day last year: "My wife Fleur was admitted onto the labour ward and we were excitedly awaiting the arrival of our first child together," he recalls. "I already had two older sons so we knew Father’s Day would be pushed back a week or so. Little did we know that it would need to be pushed back even more due to complications arising from Aiden’s birth." Here, he shares his story in his own words...
"We always joked that Aiden would arrive late and probably make his appearance on Father’s Day, although Fleur was in labour, Aiden did not arrive for a further two days! As I sit writing this and thinking back to the day of Aiden’s birth and this year's Father’s Day, Aiden is sat beside in me in his highchair with tomato sauce round his face after having his tea - a perfect Sunday evening in my eyes, one we feared might not come.
Aiden had a difficult start to his life and needed resuscitating for a prolonged period. Aiden was placed on a ventilator and began being passively cooled while we waited for him to be transported to Addenbookes for active cooling, a technique we now know Action Medical Research funded research into. Without this vital treatment our little boy may not be here to celebrate Father’s Day.
Aiden was cooled for 72 hours, his cold little body wrapped in an ice jacket helping prevent the spread of further brain damage.The little skin we could touch was cold and not that of a new born baby. The many machines beeping and keeping him alive became our life for two weeks before we were able to bring our boy home.
This year, not only are we celebrating Father’s Day with our most beautiful little boy, who is nick named Amazing Aiden, but we are also able to celebrate his first birthday, a huge milestone and one we feared we may never see. Although Aiden won’t remember it, he is having a big party and will be the star attraction. He has captured the hearts of so many people and we are just in awe of him and his determination to battle through all the obstacles that face him.
My view on Father’s Day has changed since Aiden was born, I used to look forward to this day as a day to put my feet up and be looked after by my children. Now I see it as a day to celebrate family and all my amazing children by being together and being thankful for the life we have been given, along with being allowed to have control of the TV remote for the day.
This year as I sit holding my amazing son Aiden, feeling his warm skin against me, thinking back over the past 12 months, I cannot believe the journey we have started on and the hurdles we have already overcome. I am grateful for my family, for those children who participated in the ice blanket research who enabled my son to benefit from it and for those we have met along the way so far."