Dog lover Paul O’Grady (pictured above) has spent years filming the highs and lows of life at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, but for his moving new series, Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes, he’s turning his attention to the fantastic work of Great Ormond Street Hospital in central London, proving he’s a natural with both animals and children.
Volunteering his services, he mucks in where needed – including serving up the hospital dinners – and meets some of the brave and inspirational young patients, who this week include 13-year-old Mackenzie, who is at the hospital to have ear reconstruction surgery.
Paul gets a glimpse of a pioneering surgery after he meets 13-year-old Mackenzie who is at the hospital to have his ear reconstructed after being born with Microtia. The condition means those affected are born with a small ear that doesn’t develop properly. Mackenzie talks to Paul about being bullied because of his ear and Paul is on hand to give his mum a cuddle as he gets wheeled off to surgery.
Mackenzie was born with Microtia (Greek for “little ear”), a rare condition resulting in underdeveloped ears and associated hearing loss. According to Microtia UK, it affects 1 in 6,000 babies.
Mackenzie’s surgeon explains how he is going to sculpt and create a new ear out of part of Mackenzie’s rib.
Mackenzie tells Paul about being bullied because of his ear and Paul is on hand to give Mackenzie’s mum Louise a cuddle as her son gets wheeled off to surgery.
Louise says: “I came out of theatre crying and Paul O’Grady was there and gave me the most massive cuddle.”
Paul watched the amazing surgery take place and Louise says: “I couldn’t stop staring at Mackenzie’s new ear – all those years of imagining what it would look like had come to reality.”
MacKenzie will need a further operation to improve the look of his new ear. Mum Louise revealed the happy news that the bullying has now stopped, adding “he is like a different person now”.
To watch this episode tune in to ITV on Wednesday 8th August at 8pm