Meet Justin Rocchi. Here we follow his amazing and inspiring journey, from being born at 31 weeks to ten years old. This story was also featured in Bliss' magazine, Little Bliss.
Justin was born on 27 June 2003 at Bedford Hospital. He was just 31 weeks gestation and weighed 1.9kg
Justin’s tummy had been expanding over a number of days so he was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital with suspected necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). He had surgery the next day and spent a week there.
Justin’s mum Stephanie said: “It was very hard to see Justin go through really horrendous tests and waiting for surgery to end. He was intubated for two days and we were scared he wouldn’t wake up. Ricky broke down a lot in those days. It was just a horrible experience."
On 30 July Justin went home. “It was a celebration for all of us and Justin’s brothers came with us to pick him up. It was a relief to be home together but it was daunting too. We were still scared that Justin would stop breathing.”
Justin celebrated his first birthday with his family. “By then he was a good eater. I was holding him over my shoulder and without any of us noticing he reached over and grabbed a massive piece of cake. We all had a great laugh when we saw the cake in his hand!”
Justin was really excited about his first day of school though Stephanie worried he may have difficulties they had not spotted yet. After a few days Justin had settled in and has loved going to school ever since.
By the time Justin was five he did not have any further medical issues. The family had moved to Italy, Justin was doing well in school and he had taken up football, his favourite sport.
Stephanie and Ricky had two parties to celebrate Justin’s tenth birthday. “Another birthday achieved and another reminder of how grateful and blessed we feel that everything turned out well for Justin.”
“Justin is so different now to how he was in the first few weeks of life. He is my inspiration. I know whatever difficulties we encounter they will be nothing compared to those first weeks and we will get over them. The will and fight to live is enduring.”
Watch the video below to find out how Justin is doing now.
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