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A boy with a life-limiting genetic condition celebrated his seventh birthday with a hospital visit from his pet pony.Nate Williams has had an undiagnosed genetic condition since birth which affects his heart, lungs and gut.Doctors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital had warned his family of “the possibility of the worst happening”, his mother Joanne Williams said.Seeing his pony, Olaf, in his hospital room was “amazing for Nate,” she said.”It really did make him smile,” said Mrs Williams, from Burntwood in Staffordshire.”He has such a bond with Olaf, a rescue pony who we’ve had since he was six-weeks-old.”Latest news from the West MidlandsMrs Williams and her husband Andrew discussed bringing Olaf to the hospital with doctors involved in Nate’s care a few months before his birthday on 11 August.”I didn’t think it would be feasible,” Mrs Williams said. “Their response was ‘let’s make it feasible’.”Olaf joined the celebrations in Nate’s room on the paediatric intensive care unit with the seven-year-old’s two sisters, brother and his friends.’Bye Olaf, love you’The moment the boy was reunited with his pony was recorded by one of Nate’s consultants, Dr Intikhab Zafurallah.”We’ve been working hard to turn the plans for Project Pony into reality for a little while and we were all delighted to have made it happen,” she said.Nate also received more than 200 cards from teams across Birmingham Children’s Hospital.”When it came to say goodbye he said ‘bye Olaf, love you.’ It was just so lovely,” Mrs Williams said.”He might have more to come but, if this was his last birthday, it’s been one we’ll all never forget.”Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
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The family of a woman in need of a liver transplant are appealing for more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people to register as organ donors.Sunaina Paul, 31, from Bearwood, Birmingham has been prioritised as “super urgent” on the transplant list, her family said. But a shortage of BAME donors means finding a match is more difficult. Her family are campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of registering. Sunaina, who is a British Punjabi, was born with Biliary Atresia, a condition in which bile ducts in the liver are blocked, leading to a built up of the bile, which causes damage to the liver. She underwent a procedure at seven weeks old to allow bile to flow from the liver to the intestines, but mother Sianne Paul said they knew she would eventually need a transplant. Ms Paul was told in March it was necessary, but, her mother said, the low availability of compatible donors means other patients have died while on the waiting list. NHS Blood and Transplant said people from the same ethnic background are more likely to have matching blood groups and tissue types, but in 2017/2018, BAME donors made up a little over 7% of all opt-in registrations, where ethnicity was recorded.Latest news from the West Midlands”Our lives hang on the generosity of a stranger,” Sianne Paul said.”We hope to encourage more people to sign up as organ donors and in doing so give hope to young adults like Sunaina that they have a chance to live.”An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said family refusal continues to be the “biggest obstacle” among BAME communities.The law is set to change next spring requiring people to opt out of donating organs, rather than the current opt-in approach, and is expected to increase the number of donor organs available.But Orin Lewis, co-chair of the National Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Transplant Alliance, said for patients like Sunaina “time is of the essence”.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
Work is set to resume on a major city centre development following the collapse of a construction firm.Willmott Dixon has been appointed to replace Pochin, which was commissioned to develop the Clayworks apartments and Hilton Garden Inn developments in Stoke-on-Trent.Work ground to a halt when Pochin went into administration earlier this month, threatening 120 jobs.The development of the Smithfield site is due to restart within eight weeks.”We’re likely to see continuation of the buildings very very quickly,” Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said.”The buildings are pretty much structurally finished, it is just the interiors going in now,” she said, adding that it was a “surprise” to see work stop when the buildings were so close to completion.”I want to see them open as soon as possible.”Latest news from the West MidlandsThe local authority loaned £6.9m to Genr8 – the development company behind both projects – to get the work under way in 2018, but said the delay was not expected to cost taxpayers any more.The Holiday Inn is projected to cost £20m and the Clayworks £17m.”It’s not something we would have wished for,” said Mike Smith from Genr8. “It’s a big challenge.”Workers were turned away and refused access to the site when it unexpectedly closed following Pochin’s liquidation.Simon Butcher, from Willmott Dixon, said the firm hoped to “re-engage the existing workforce”.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.