Fundraise on the First: Hornchurch youngster born prematurely is a ‘little fighter’

PUBLISHED: 09:37 13 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:37 13 March 2015

Sergie and Emma Ksaveriev, with their six-year-old son Samuel, who was born 16 weeks prematurely

Sergie and Emma Ksaveriev, with their six-year-old son Samuel, who was born 16 weeks prematurely


For any parent, the shock of having a premature baby is huge.

Zizzi restaurant in Hornchurch, which is hosting a coffee morning for the Recorder's Fundraise on the First campaign with First Step. Picture: Zizzi HornchurchZizzi restaurant in Hornchurch, which is hosting a coffee morning for the Recorder's Fundraise on the First campaign with First Step. Picture: Zizzi Hornchurch

But the ordeal was particularly traumatic for Emma Ksaveriev and her husband Sergie.

Their son Samuel was born 16 weeks early on November 11 2008 and was close to death at least three times.

The youngster battled through serious operations and defied the odds, but was left with learning difficulties because of his premature birth.

But thanks to the support of children’s charity First Step, his parents got through those difficult days.

Emma, 29, from Harold Hill, said: “It was hard. We were told on three separate occasions to say goodbye to him as he was not going to make it.

“But after he survived the first operation we knew he was a little fighter.”

Samuel, now six, suffered two heart operations to correct a hole and also had two bowel operations and eye surgery.

He has what is called a global developmental delay, a term used when children have delays to areas such as speech, vision and movement.

Samuel also has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and trouble sleeping.

Emma said: “He is like a three-year-old in a six-year-old’s body.

“He doesn’t talk very well and has problems with coordination.”

Samuel spent eight months in hospital, but once his parents were allowed to take him home First Step got in touch and the family attended a play session.

Emma said: “I met lots of other parents in the same boat as me and it didn’t feel like he was different.”

The youngster, who took his first step at the charity’s centre, enjoyed play activities and PACC sessions (promoting attention, communication and cooperation) for a few years before joining a nursery.

He now attends Hilldene Primary School, in Grange Road, Harold Hill.

His parents are so grateful to First Step that they are hosting their own event for our Fundraise on the First campaign.

Both Emma and Sergie work at the Zizzi restaurant in Station Lane, Hornchurch, and they are holding a coffee morning from 9.30-11.30am on April 13.

Sergie, 31, is also running the British 10k in July to raise even more money.

Emma said: “Sam is an amazing child; he has such a cheeky personality.

“He is doing great at school and loves it there.

“He is the reason why we are doing this. We want to give something back to First Step.”

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