A LARGS mum is set to deliver a special Christmas gift to doctors who have 'kept her son alive' during his 18-year battle with crippling health conditions.

Coleen Andrews believes her son Declan would have died if it wasn't for the amazing care he has received from medics at Crosshouse Hospital.

The 18-year-old has a severe form of cerebral palsy and epilepsy, as well as a number of other ailments, and Coleen wants to thank staff by organising a special festive collection for other youngsters being looked after in the children's ward.

She hopes to hand in selection boxes, colouring albums, colouring pencils and story books to brighten up Christmas for others.

She told the News: ""Declan has recently transferred from children's to adult services and I would like to do something to thank the ward. They have been a big part of keeping Declan alive for the past 18 years.

"He wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the marvellous support from the children's unit - they have been marvellous.

"Christmas is such a hard time if you have to spend it in hospital - so I thought it would be a nice gesture."

The condition which Declan has limits his movement and vision, meaning he requires round-the-clock care. He also suffers from bowel problems as well as a chronic lung condition.

He has defied medics who told Colleen he was unlikely to live past his first birthday.

She said: "Next we were told he would be lucky to make it to five, and then told he wouldn't make double figures, so every day is a bonus.

In recent years his condition has deteriorated and he is also suffers from apnea which means he suffers breathing difficulties which sometimes requires treatment from paramedics.

But Coleen says that her son still copes and lives life with a smile.

She added: "He is so brave but transferring to adult care is a big step for Declan. It is a massive turnaround as the children's unit know his care step by step, and he is now getting used to new staff.

"I cannot praise the children's unit enough for everything they have done, they have become like family to me.

"They love Declan and all of the staff treat him like they would their own son or daughter.

"I trusted every single one of the nurses to take over from what I do when he goes in. I wouldn't have Declan with me today if it wasn't for the children's service, they have been so loving and attentive.

"I would love to be able to do what they do. The trust and love they give is incredible."

Coleen says she has already been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response she has received from the community to her appeal.

She added: "I'd like to thank both Lindsay Anderson from Costa and Abigial Cox from Haylie Stores, who immediately offered to provide collection points for the gifts for the children's ward.

"People have rallied round which is phenomenal and it has been heartening to see the community come together in this way."

The family, made up of mum Coleen, dad Neil, who works as a mechanic, and brothers Aydan, 16 and Dean, 13, live in Holehouse Road in Largs.

They received a boost recently when Declan joined his brothers for a special tour of Ibrox after the Rangers versus Livingston match.

The boys also got the opportunity to meet Rangers stars Robbie McCrorie and Nikola Katic.

Coleen added: "The boys were so spoiled that day - Rangers were terrific."

To donate to the appeal, pop into either of the collection points mentioned or a third one now set up in Costa in Gallowgate Street.