'They saved our boy's life' - Fundraiser for hospital that helped little Rocco

Rocco Dowsett went through multiple surgery's to fix his heart problem he was born with. 

Rocco Dowsett went through multiple surgery to fix the heart problem he was born with. - Credit: Leah Purkiss

The mother of a little boy has praised a hospital and its charity for the work they did for her son that saved his life.

Rocco Dowsett was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four heart defects, and had to go through multiple operations.

Rocco was born in September 2020 at Colchester General Hospital, but just five hours after his birth, a nurse asked to run tests as he was very blue in colour.

Rocco in his green Lamborghini

Rocco in his green Lamborghini - Credit: Leah Purkiss

After running saturation tests, they discovered a congenital heart defect, despite sonographers saying everything was all right, and it was "just a shadow" they saw on the scan.

Rocco's mum, Leah Purkiss, 21, said: "We were taken into a room to discuss what was wrong and they said he was going to be blue lighted to the Royal Brompton Hospital, and we were told we couldn't go with him because of Covid, but as a first-time parent, I said no, that is my little boy.

"As soon as we got there, he was hooked up to all these medications and things and we didn't know what was going to happen.

Rocco was given a life expectancy of two, with his second birthday coming up in Se

Rocco was given a life expectancy of two, with his second birthday coming up in September, but is doing well after the surgeries - Credit: Leah Purkiss

"They told us they weren't sure he would make it through the journey because it is a two-hour journey. As a 19-year-old, I was freaking out.

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"My initial thought when I heard was 'what have I done? What have I done during my pregnancy to deserve this?'

"An innocent little baby that hasn't done anything, and he has got something so severe.

"I was just so in shock."

The Purkiss/Dowsett family. Left to right: "Rocco Dowsett, Alfie Dowsett, Demi Purkiss,

The Purkiss/Dowsett family. Left to right: "Rocco Dowsett, Alfie Dowsett, Demi Purkiss, Leah Purkiss, Stuart, Tallulah and Alfie - Credit: Leah Purkiss

After a year of check-ups and nurse home visits, his saturation level dropped from 85% to 68%, with the average human's sitting at 98%.

Rocco went to Brompton Hospital again in October 2021 and had life-changing open heart surgery, as well as lung surgery.

Leah said: "He is now just like a normal child. You wouldn't know, unless you saw his scar, that there was anything wrong with him at all."

Leah Purkiss, Alfie Dowsett and Rocco Doswett

Leah Purkiss, Alfie Dowsett and Rocco Doswett - Credit: Leah Purkiss

Rocco lives in Clacton with his parents Leah Purkiss and her boyfriend Alfie Dowsett, 20, and regularly likes to go to Ipswich to see his Grandma and Grandad, Nicola and Stuart.

Leah added: "Honestly, we couldn't have done it without Roc's Grandma. She was our rock, always at the end of the line, day and night when we were in the hospital with Rocco."

As a big car family, and Rocco being known in the community for his green Lamborghini that he likes to drive around in, the family regularly attend Foxhall Stadium to watch the racing and car shows around the area, as well as helping his Grandad at his recovery service business.

Rocco with his grandma, Nicola Purkiss

Rocco with his grandma, Nicola Purkiss - Credit: Leah Purkiss

Leah and Alfie will be raising money for children's charity The Brompton Fountain - which raises money for vital equipment, services and amenities for the Royal Brompton - on August 21 at the Suffolk Aviation Museum at 11am, where a charity car show will be held.

"The charity is kind of a separate bit of the Royal Brompton Hospital.

"They give out Easter eggs and things to children during Easter, and during father's day and mother's day, they give presents to the parents so as one myself, I know how much that little bit of love helps, and they are such an amazing charity.

Rocco helping out grandad Stuart

Rocco helping out grandad Stuart - Credit: Leah Purkiss

"Whichever way you look at it, they saved our little boy's life.

"Rocco only had a life expectancy of two, and he is coming up to his second birthday in September, and if it wasn't for the hospital, I don't think our boy would be here right now.

"Rocco is doing brilliantly now, he is such a crazy child.

Rocco and his green Lamborghini

Rocco and his green Lamborghini - Credit: Leah Purkiss

"I do feel like hospitals need to do a proper check for these types of illnesses and diseases.

"If a baby goes home, and ends up having a heart attack or something, and they don't make it, that simple check can stop that from happening."

Tickets for the car show can be bought here, with £2 from each ticket, going straight to the Brompton Fountain from the organiser, Torque Show, who met them at a previous event in Colchester.

A link to find out more about Rocco, his Instagram is here.