Wakefield youngster's new life in USA

The last time we saw four-year-old open heart surgery survivor Oscar Knowles, he was about to start a new adventure in America.

And one year after the big move, the YEP can reveal that Oscar is thriving in the United States, where he is enjoying his new life as a Texas cowboy.

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Oscar, from Outwood, Wakefield, was featured in the YEP after he underwent seven operations as a baby after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition.

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Parents Mick and Nicola were told on several occasions that he might not survive – but against all the odds, Oscar won his fight and is now a healthy, happy little boy.

The family moved overseas in October 2009 after Mick got a new job in Houston, Texas, where Oscar has started school and enjoys football and swimming.

Mick, 42, said: "Oscar quickly made lots of friends and became very popular, as he does wherever he goes.

"He loves driving around in his little Ford F150 truck with his friends and is even picking up a bit of an accent, which is funny when you see him in his Stetson and John Deer cowboy boots."

Oscar was just four weeks old when he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which affects around one in 1,000 babies.

Mick and Nicola faced an agonising wait as their only child clung to life following open heart surgery 12 months later.

He also battled a series of medical complications, which required another six trips to theatre.

The couple have always praised the care which Oscar received at Leeds General Infirmary, especially from paediatric cardiac consultant Catherine Penrose, who became Oscar's godmother.

His progress is being closely monitored in America, where he has also enjoyed trips to Disney, Dallas and the Houston Rodeo.

Mick added: "At his school we have been asked to speak with another set of parents who have been faced with similar news about their child, and we are only too happy to help anyone out who has had their world turned upside down the way we did.

"The doctors have pointed out that Oscar will need more surgery when he is older due to leaking heart valves, but after we described everything that had been done by the fantastic team in the UK to save his life they were happy with his progress."

Stephen Byrne.

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