A baby who survived a giant brain tumour was finally able to return home from hospital to celebrate his first birthday, surrounded by hundreds of birthday cards from around the world.
Brave Roux Owen was discharged from hospital on his birthday after undergoing 10 operations in just 11 months, to remove a tumour 'the size of two oranges'.
His parents Antony and Amy, both 32, had expected him to spend the day in hospital so asked well-wishers to post birthday cards to the ward.
But on his birthday, they were told by doctors that he was being discharged and could return home to spend the day with his parents and older brother Noah, three.
A global army of well-wishers sent cards to the ward where Roux had spent almost half his life since being diagnosed with an immature teratoma, a benign tumour that continues to grow.
Dad Antony, an English teacher, said: "We were overwhelmed with the number of cards we received. We've had hundreds from all around the world, as far away as Nigeria. He has touched so many people.
"It seems strange but the love and support we have had from people means we've never felt alone during all this."
Roux was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November last year when he was just four weeks old after his parents became concerned that he was not feeding properly.
Doctors at Hull Royal Infirmary blue-lighted the tot to Leeds General Infirmary - more than 50 miles away from the family's home - for specialist treatment.
After eight major operations, the tumour was finally removed last month and he was beginning to recover back his home in Hull, East Yorkshire.
But Roux was rushed back to hospital last week after a shunt inserted in his head to remove excess fluid and reduce brain swelling became infected and blocked. He needed another two operations to repair the shunt and drain the fluid from his brain.
Antony said: "The tumour was 10cm long and it grew cysts. A surgeon said to me it is the sort of thing they would see once in a career, if it all."
Mum Amy, a primary school teacher, had been keeping an online diary of the family's journey and Roux had amassed a legion of adoring well-wishers.
When it was feared that Roux would spend his first birthday in hospital, Antony reached out to their followers and asked for birthday cards to make his day special. They received the best birthday present when docs told the family that Roux was healthy enough to go home.
The tumour has left Roux without sight in his left eye and doctors believe he is a few months behind in his development. But his happy personality has inspired his parents to hope that he will catch up with his development.
Antony said: "The doctors said that his development is a bit behind and his motor skills and his core strength aren't what they should be.
"He is such a happy, settled boy and he is doing things and hitting his milestones, just a bit later than he normally would have. But he has spent around six months in a hospital bed, so that is probably why."
They are now hoping to make up for lost time and enjoying family life together with Roux and Noah, who have barely seen each other over the past year.
Antony added: "The last year has just been as hard for Noah, I can't imagine what it has felt like for him. Noah and Roux have got a close bond, but they should have spent the last year doing all the things that brothers should do.
"We're really looking forward to seeing them together, that's the thing we're looking forward to the most. We can't wait to do all the normal, boring family things together that we haven't been able to do for the last year."
The family have raised more than £30,000 ($38,000) for Leeds Cares, a charity that supports Ward 52, where Roux was treated during his stays in hospital.
Amy said: "I cannot express how amazing the staff at Leeds General are. The ward which primarily cared for Roux, L52, is a special place, ran by a team of very special people. Day in, day out they worked flat out to ensure Roux received the best possible care.
"Words will never be enough to express how much L52 means to our family. They've provided us with a future for our little boy that at one point we didn't think we would have.
"It will always hold a very precious place in our hearts. Maybe Roux was always destined to begin his first birthday surrounded by the people who made that possible."
You can visit justgiving.com/fundraising/forroux to donate to the Owens' fundraising page.
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