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A mother who was told 'countless' times that her teenage son wasn't going to survive is now overjoyed after getting to hear him say 'mum' for the first time in eight months.
36-year-old Georgia Eaton's son James, 14, was diagnosed earlier this year with a rare auto immune disease called encephalitis – a neurological condition that causes inflammation of the brain and intense spasms.
When he first became unwell back in December 2021, suffering from high temperatures and bursts of dizziness, doctors were stumped.
Just weeks after visiting the GP, Georgia was left horrified when she walked into James' bedroom to find him bleeding from the mouth with 'blue lips and vacant eyes'.
The teen was rushed to the Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester, and put on life-support before an MRI scan revealed that James had a collapsed lung, sepsis and a chest infection. An hour later, concerned doctors transferred him to ICU at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.
After he was transferred, doctors couldn't tell mum Georgia if her son would survive or how long he would be on life-support.
It wasn't until a month later that James was finally diagnosed with encephalitis.
Recalling the 'bittersweet' moment, Georgia said: ''I had no idea what he had, I wasn’t a doctor, but I knew my son was poorly.
"It was bittersweet, I was relieved that we finally had it, but it was so serious, I didn't know if my boy could beat it."
Once medics had determined his diagnosis, James was given everything from steroids to a specialised ketogenic diet to a therapeutic plasma exchange.
Despite doctors' best efforts to treat James, the teen's health continued to deteriorate and in March, his heart stopped and he was rushed to critical care.
As James' condition worsened, doctors were forced to ask his devastated mum to say her final farewells.
Georgia – who is also mum to 11-year-old Alfie – said: "I thought my son was gone so many times.
"I was devastated, I was trying to wrap my head around what was going on, but I was just numb."
After he had been in hospital for four months, doctors arranged a consultation with Georgia and her mum, Debbie, 51, to discuss a new treatment called anakinra that might possibly save James' life. The treatment, which had never been trialled on children before, involved James being injected three times a day for six months to reduce the inflammation in his brain.
Georgia said: "We had no more options. I had to do whatever it took to save my son."
On 20 June, Georgia was told the treatment had been successful and, for the first time in nearly a year, she got to hear her son say 'mum' again.
"Every day was a rollercoaster. I never thought I would ever hear my son call me 'mum' again," she said.
"I collapsed to the floor, I had waited so long to hear James' voice again.
''James has been home a few weeks now and it's just something we were never sure would happen.
''I'm so grateful to everyone who helped him. He can call out for me whenever he wants now, it's the best sound ever.''