a LOVING Kirkcaldy family are preparing to celebrate their son’s 18th birthday next week – a day they thought they’d never see.
Reiss Fairbairn will reach the major milestone on January 31,
It’s a momentous day which mum Kerry and dad Steven were told by doctors he would never reach, after they were warned he would not survive his first night.
The energetic teenager, who lives with his family in a specially adapted house in the town’s Links Street, was born with the extremely rare metabolic condition Cittrulanemia which means too much protein in his body can poison him.
He is severely disabled and is unable to walk or do anything for himself and requires around the clock care from his dedicated family, including his brother Ritchie (14), sister Kerys (9), parents and grandparents.
After suffering fits and going into a coma for five days when he was just ten days old, doctors told Kerry and Steven that Reiss was unlikely to live to see his first birthday.
His condition is also life shortening with any infections potentially deadly to him.
But next Thursday Reiss will celebrate with a family party at Society - and the entire family is looking forward to the big day.
Kerry said: “Each day with Reiss is a bonus and there have been many times we thought we could lose him, but he’s a real fighter and -touch wood - the older he has got the better his health has been, although we still have to be very careful and keep a regular check on his protein and ammonia levels.
“However, the older and bigger he has become the more difficult it is to look after him and do things like dress and lift him, and there have also been some behavioural difficulties, but he is a really affectionate and loving boy and he would spend all day just cuddling you if he had the chance.”
Kerry and Steven say their lives have been made much easier because of the dedication and support given to them by the staff at Rosslyn School which Reiss has attended for the past 10 years after spending his first four at Kirkcaldy West Primary.
“Rosslyn has been a fantastic school and he has had a wonderful education here. It is thanks to them that he can speak as much as he can, and people who know him can make out the words he can say, while the rest of the time he just points and shouts, so you know what he wants,” said Kerry.
They are waiting to hear where Reiss will go when he has to leave Rosslyn in the summer, and are keen to secure a place for him at the Leonard Cheshire facility in Glenrothes.
As a special birthday treat the family are taking Reiss to see the WWE wrestling, which he loves, when it comes to the Braehead Arena in Glasgow in March.
He is also currently learning to drive his new electric wheelchair which the family hope will give him more independence.
And he is also looking forward to a trip to T In The Park this summer with Rachel House Children’s Hospice where he and his family regularly visit for respite.
Nick Cager, the new head teacher at Rosslyn School, said: “I have only been here a few weeks, but I already know what a great character Reiss is.
‘‘He is a happy boy and is a great asset to our school. He has been at Rosslyn for almost 10 years and I would like to thank all the staff here for the care and support they have given Reiss and his family. I know he will be missed by them.”