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Game changer

Xavier Kite’s life is one of hospital trips, periods of isolation and battles against his body. He’s a resilient kid, but he needs some help. That’s why Satan’s Little Helper provided a “game-changing” intervention.

For a third of his life, Xavier Kite has been in pain. It all began when he was five and started vomiting blood. “He went through a round of testing under anaesthetic,” explains his mum Inger, “which found scarring right up the oesophagus and into his throat caused by severe acid reflux. He was diagnosed with severe gastritis shortly after.” For nine-year-old Xaiver, the acid produced by his stomach moves into his oesophagus – which shouldn’t happen. It’s so damaging that he’s had to have five teeth removed, not to mention it leaves him in constant pain. He’s also had to undergo extensive tests and procedures, says Inger. “Xaiver has had pH probes inserted under anaesthetic three times to monitor his stomach acid for 24-48 hours, which he hates. He’s had five barium swallow procedures and manometry testing, which is a tube down his throat to measure how his muscles move food from his mouth to his stomach.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, Xavier had to undergo a Nissen fundoplication surgery, which takes a flap of the stomach and wraps it around the lower oesophageal sphincter to strengthen it and prevent acid reflux. The surgery has a failure rate as low as 2%, but Xaiver’s luck wasn’t in. “He’s seeing a counsellor now because he hates going to hospital so much, plus he’s developed complex regional pain syndrome.” Complex regional pain syndrome is a nervous system disorder triggered by trauma or injury. It means that Xaiver can feel severe pain at the lightest touch. “When he’s in pain, he feels it 10 times worse than you or I would,” explains Inger, “and we never know when it’ll strike.” All of that means a lot of time spent on his own, in hospitals or recovering at home. For an incredibly social kid like Xavier, who gets his energy from being around others, it’s hell. “He used to have a Nintendo Switch that he used to communicate with his mates when he missed school, but it broke and we couldn’t get it fixed.” After hearing his story, Satan’s Little Helper couldn’t say no to sorting Xavier out with a replacement. “It’s improved his life so much. He’s very very social and when he’s not at school he misses out on engaging with friends, chatting, laughing and being cheeky. “The Switch is his way of connecting with his friends. When he’s sick, he can’t move much. He’s housebound and his friends don’t come over as much because he’s too unwell to play with them. With a switch, he can interact, talk and laugh with them, it means he has a life outside of just watching the TV or mum wanting to play the same boardgames with him again and again. “It’s a game-changer."


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