A nine-year-old Fife boy who received the gift of life from his little sister is finally ready to re-start school.
Brave Michael Gartshore, known as Wee Michael, is excited to be rejoining his classmates at Kings Road Primary in Rosyth on Wednesday for the first time in 16 months.
The youngster has spent much of this year in isolation after undergoing a stem cell transplant in December, thanks to a donation from sister Charlotte, who was just three years old at the time.
And Charlotte, who turned four in January, will be with her big brother every step of the way as she starts primary one at the same school.
It was a day mum Tracy and dad Michael senior feared they may never see as their son became gravely ill as he waited for his transplant.
He was diagnosed last April with aplastic anaemia, a very rare condition in which the immune system mistakenly destroys bone marrow.
He endured months of invasive treatments, including weekly blood transfusions, before he eventually received his transplant on December 6.
Charlotte is shortlisted in the unsung hero category at Friday’s Kingdom FM Local Hero Awards as she too had to undergo a painful procedure to harvest her stem cells.
Tracy said that while Michael and Charlotte were looking forward to their first day at school, she was feeling emotional at the thought of the milestone step.
“They’re both really excited,” she said.
“Michael is absolutely buzzing. It’s been almost 16 months since he was at school and he has no nerves at all.
“Charlotte can’t wait to get going either.”
She added: “It’s me that’s feeling it and part of me wants to not send Michael but that would be selfish.”
So as not to overwhelm him, Michael will initially have lessons for just a couple of hours a day and this will gradually increase as he gets used to being back.
“He still gets tired and breathless,” said Tracy.
“He missed the whole of P4 and part of P3 so we don’t want it to be too much of a shock to the system.”
Tracy is urging other parents to follow the 48-hour rule and to not send their children back to school too soon if they have had an infection to prevent speading it to other pupils.
“It could mean weeks in hospital for a child with serious immunity issues,” she said.