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Never Give Up

Sam had spent most of his life not knowing the cause of his condition which led to difficulties with feeding, walking, and speech.

Dealt another blow, he suffered a repeated chest infections in 2015 and 2017 that signalled the beginning of debilitating and uncontrollable movements which would plague him for years to come. Sam was admitted to PICU at Bristol Children’s Hospital and put into a coma in order to control these movements.

Whilst Sam recovered the Neurosurgery Team became aware of a newly described mutation in a gene called GNAO1, which can show similar symptoms to those Sam, was experiencing. With only around 50 children in the world thought to have had the same mutation at the time and Sam’s condition worsening, the team prepared to treat him by implanting a Deep Brain Stimulator.

Sam with Mike Carter at Bristol Children's Hospital

Sam with Neurosurgeon Mike Carter

Using revolutionary equipment which we were able to fund thanks to people like you, the device was implanted into Sam’s brain, creating an electric field which overrides the pathway causing the issue. In 2015, the Neurosurgical Robot and Brain Lab at Bristol Children’s Hospital became one of the first in the country specifically for children and enables surgeons to operate on patients like Sam with incredible precision.

Since undergoing this major surgery, Sam’s life has turned around; where his mobility was once floppy and unpredictable he can now walk partially unaided and his movements have stopped. He even walked unaided at his last hospital appointment in February, impressing his consultants! Back home in Chippenham, Sam loves trips to the park and a kick around.

“After seeing Sam struggle every day, who would have thought we’d be looking forward to a family holiday to New York. Who would have thought Sam would be splashing around a pool with his school friends”



Sam’s remarkable journey is yet another shining example of the life-changing work of Bristol Children’s Hospital and its long-lasting impact will be forever felt by the Pearson family.

Sam Pearson with Mum and Dad

Not only has the life of one special young man been vastly improved but Sam’s story has given hope to so many more patients and their families as well as shown the extraordinary possibilities of recovery.

“We owe so much to Bristol Children’s Hospital – they simply are the best.”