Bruce Beaton

8 May 2013

My personal motivation is my son, James born with a rare condition that we’d never heard about, esophageal Atresia.
The work, compassion and competence of the medical staff and associations such as the AFAO in France are essential for families struggling to come to terms with this new and unknown condition to which you have to adapt.
My wife is the AFAO contact person for the North East of France and I wanted to do my part as well.
I work for UPM Raflatac in Nancy, France, one of the world’s leading providers of self-adhesive labelstock. During my time at the company I have been based permanently in the UK, the USA and France. My work for specific projects sees me travel regularly – mainly in Europe but occasionally in Africa and the Far East.

Nearly 4 years ago, due to a ‘shunt’ in the umbilical cord and potential damage to the brain and/or the heart due to excessive blood flow directly to these organs, James was born by Caesarean section at 28 wks. Weighing in at 1.42kg and with breathing difficulties due to the premature nature of his birth, we were relieved to hear that there had been no adverse impacts on his brain or heart. The relief was short-lived as in the same night, we were informed that James had been born with a rare condition that we’d never heard about, (O)esophageal Atresia (with complications) and that he would not be coming home in the near future. 6 months in ICU, multiple operations and much soul-searching at Nancy’s Hôpital des Enfants à Brabois later, James came home for Christmas 2009.
James has overcome each challenge that has been thrown at him and continues to develop into an intelligent, sensitive, well-balanced, much loved and most importantly, happy little boy.