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Rio’s Story

Rio’s mum Sacha was told at her 20 week scan that her baby had a problem with their heart. When doctors operated on his heart he was only 6 days old. Rio had a further two heart operations when he was 11 months old and 3 years old.

“Rio knows he has a poorly heart. I was told by doctors that he will never be the person on the pitch scoring the goals, he will be a goalie. But now he can do anything. He has got so much energy. Even they are surprised.

Rio is quite cheeky. He is very sociable, kind and funny. He is enthusiastic about life and gets excited by the smallest things

He is fine with his scar. When I take him swimming I don’t let him wear a top. I want him to be confident. All the children in the class look after him. He is mainly friends with girls. He is very popular with the girls.

I don’t know what the future will hold for him. His life expectancy is 30 years old. The oldest survivor with Rio’s condition is in his 30s. If his heart did start to fail, a heart transplant would be the next option. I was told this when I was pregnant.

But to be honest, by the time he is 30; more stuff could have been invented and discovered. He has defined all the odds already. I am just positive about it. There is no point in being any other way. When you think about it, it’s not very nice.

A moment that made me most proud was when he had his last operation, he had been in intensive care and it was the first time he got up and started walking. For some reason that made me cry. I was so proud that he had got up – it was his determination. He was getting better and getting on with it.

I look at Rio as lucky. There are so many other children who are so poorly and don’t get to do the same things Rio can.”

Sacha Eneke, Rio’s mum