Life has been far from smooth for a boy who was once the youngest British recipient of a revolutionary implant.
Ryan Burnett was five when he received the vagus nerve stimulation [VNS] device, which helps prevent seizures by sending regular, mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain.
The 12-year-old from Lochend suffers from a rare neurological condition known as bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria. The disorder, caused by a malformation of the brain, produces similar symptoms to epilepsy.
Ryan needed his implant replaced last year, sparking a long-running battle with his health after subsequent infections left him hooked up to a drip at the Sick Kids hospital.
His bravery in the face of those setbacks has resulted in him becoming the latest nominee for the Sick Kids Heroes awards in the “patient that fills us with admiration” category.
The initiative has been launched to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, with awards to recognise the outstanding contributions made by staff and supporters, and the courage of patients.
Lisa Burnett, 19, said she had nominated her brother because of his positive attitude towards his disability.
She said: “He has to take medicine daily to control his epilepsy and has regular trips to the Sick Kids. He has missed most of his first year at secondary school.
“Despite all he has been through, he still manages to have a smile on his face every day. He lets all the nurses do whatever needs to be done and never complains.”
Ryan was diagnosed with the condition after his first seizure at the age of two. His visits to Sick Kids have been as frequent as weekly ever since, with the treatment schedule including trips to London’s Great Ormond Street hospital.
Lisa said: “The fits were becoming more regular, and during the day he was getting agitated quite easily. When his implant goes on, it usually calms him. That’s when they started realising that maybe there was a problem with it.
“The implant wasn’t working properly so he got it replaced. It’s been hard for him to deal with it. He’s never out of the Sick Kids. It’s a second home for him because he’s there that much, but he doesn’t let it bother him.”
Nominations must be submitted by April 11 at www.edinburghsickkids.org/events/nominate, by phoning 0131 668-4949, or by sending in our coupon.