Little hero – Taheem

Four-year-old Taheem was diagnosed with kidney failure when he was just 15 months old. He’s currently waiting for a kidney transplant – while he waits, he requires four hours of dialysis three times a week at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). His story features in Episode Three of Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes.

Arriving at GOSH

Taheem started receiving dialysis when he was just 15 months old.

“When we found out Taheem had kidney failure, everyone in the family was checked to see if they were a match to donate one of their kidneys," says Taheem's mum, Aida. "Sadly, none of us were.” 

Patients with kidney failure are dependent on dialysis to provide life-saving treatment that replaces the work normally done by the kidneys. Dialysis removes waste products from the blood and any extra water from the body, taking away the substances that the body does not need that would otherwise build up in the blood and make someone ill.

Taheem has been attending GOSH for over two years now, receiving dialysis four times a week with each session lasting four hours.

Taheem’s medical situation is even more complicated. Ami, a nurse from Eagle Ward, explains: “When Taheem arrived at GOSH, he couldn’t see properly, and he was deaf. He's since had cochlear implants fitted and is now able to hear for the first time. He’s also been given special glasses to wear.” 

Receiving home dialysis

Taheem’s dialysis sessions at GOSH take up to four hours at a time, so being able to receive treatment at home will make a huge difference to him and his family. 

“Dialysis at the hospital takes a long time because of the treatment, and transport to and from our home in Tottenham," says Aida. 

Aida has been receiving training by GOSH staff so that she can deliver the treatment safely at home. The last stage of the home dialysis training process involves the family staying in parent accommodation close to the hospital. This is done so that Aida can become confident in delivering the treatment independently, while being close enough to the hospital to get guidance and advice from the renal team. 

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity funds this vital parent accommodation and other welfare projects to help the families of seriously ill children like Taheem. 

“I want to learn how to do the home dialysis and so Taheem can start at school this September," says Aida.

"Other parents have told me how amazing it is to do home dialysis as you can do it any time you like. It might look complicated with the machine, but once you’ve done it a few times, you get used to it."

Once training is completed, carers like Aida are retrained to use the dialysis equipment every six months. There are family-wide benefits, too.

“When I can do home dialysis, I will have more time with all my family," says Aida. "I’m excited that I’ll be able to take my other son to his football for the first time. I want all my children to know I love them." 

Receiving home dialysis means Taheem will spend less time travelling to and from GOSH – and more time at home with his family. 

Taheem riding bike with mum Aida

Taheem's future

Nurse Ami, who cared for Taheem over the past two years, knows just how popular Taheem was on Eagle Ward.

“Everyone on the ward will definitely miss him when he starts having his treatment at home," says Ami. 

Others have noticed Taheem's improvement too. 

“People who saw Taheem when he was really ill, and then they see him now, running around and smiling, they just fall in love," says Aida. “He is full of energy and such a happy child.

"As long as you smile and are positive and give him the love, he gives so much back.”

“Since Taheem has had his cochlear implants fitted, he’s definitely making more noises and is learning how to speak," says Ami. "He points at things, which he didn’t do before, and definitely understands what his mum is saying to him.” 

Lynsey adds that since Taheem has improved, “he’s now really keen to explore!” 

Aida and the rest of her family are confident that the future is bright for Taheem.

“We are now waiting for a kidney transplant for Taheem," says Aida. "If we are positive and keep smiling, our time will come, it’s just not happened yet.”

Watch Episode Three of Paul O'Grady's Little Heroes.

Support Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

We raise money to enable GOSH to provide world-class care for its young patients and their families in many ways including funding the parent accommodation for families like Taheem's. This means for carers receiving home haemodialysis training are able to complete the last stage of haemodialysis training close to the hospital where they can receive guidance and advice from the renal team. 

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