A Ramsgate toddler who needed a heart transplant has sadly lost his fight for life.
Two-year-old Ronnie Ripley was rushed to hospital on June 23 in a critical condition. Mum Nicole had called the ambulance after her son turned blue. Initially blue-lighted to QEQM Hospital in Margate, Ronnie was then taken to St Mary’s Hospital and put in an induced comma but needed to be moved to heart and lung specialist hospital, the Royal Brompton.
Following tests Ronnie was diagnosed with rare heart disease restrictive cardiomyopathy, which is where the walls of the main heart chambers become stiff and rigid and cannot relax properly after contracting. This means the heart cannot fill up properly with blood.
The toddler, who loved Paw Patrol, Shark Dog and singing Frozen songs, was initially thought to be making progress and was taken off the ventilator but his heart rate accelerated and he had to be sedated once more.
He also suffered four infections and mum Nicole was told her son had a ruptured bowel.
Last month, Ronnie became a little more responsive as the hospital teams worked to keep the infections under control but this month he suffered cardiac arrests and was placed on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine.
Sadly, Ronnie passed away on Friday evening (August 19).
Devastated mum Nicole said: “I am heartbroken, my poor baby. I did everything I could. I am going to miss him every second of every day. Every part of my body aches, I just want my boy, my only baby.
“He was the best, so loving. He will always be mummy’s boy. I don’t know what I am going to do without him. The only thing giving me comfort right now is knowing he is with my sister Carla who I lost last September.”
Ronnie’s nan Lisa Russell added: “I feel so broken, he will always be in my heart.
“I’m going to miss him so much. He fought a hard fight and he will always be our champ.”
Family friend Lucinda Rose, who was Ronnie’s godmother, had set up a fundraiser to help the family with costs during the toddler’s time in hospital. The fund will now be used to pay for Ronnie’s final journey.
Lucinda said: “This is worst thing I’ve been through, saying goodbye to my beautiful godson. He will always be special to me and I will do everything I can to raise more funds to make sure his send of is how Nicole wants – magical.“
Any remaining funding will be used to set up something in Ronnie’s memory.