'Miracle baby' William, now 11, battles back from serious illness to become Doncaster's youngest businessman

Even before he was born, William Whittaker had a tough introduction to the world.

Wednesday, 25th April 2018, 8:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th April 2018, 8:36 am
William Whittaker, 11, has set-up his own business, 'The Sweet Wizard'.

His 20 week scan revealed a tumour in his lung, leaving doctors asking his mum and dad if they wanted to go ahead with the pregnancy.

But there was no way she was going to lose her baby - and that was the moment he started to show himself as a fighter.

William Whittaker, 11, has set-up his own business, 'The Sweet Wizard'.

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Mum Rachel read of surgeons who had carried out operations on the condition in the womb, and managed to track down a doctor in London who did the operations, Kypros Nicolaides, at Kings College, London.

The procedure involved putting what she described as a big hollow knitting needle into Rachel's tummy and through the wall of her uterus to get to William. The same needle allowed a small shunt to be passed into his lung and that could drain out some of a big cyst that was causing a problem.

The five hour procedure caused Rachel to go into premature labour, and William, of Cantley, Doncaster, was born three months early. Five days later, the cyst was growing again, so half his right lung was removed.

That caused further complications, and doctors told Rachel that William was 'trying quite hard to die'. He was on 12 different medications at one point, and on a ventilator. Doctors did not know what to expect because they had seen so few similar cases.

William Whittaker,as a baby.

William spent 17 weeks in Sheffield Children's Hospital after he was born. Then after he was finally allowed home, he still had a battle on his hands, and for 18 months he was on oxygen at home.

His mum used to have to carry oxygen around, and right up to four years ago, he still needed it when he had a bad cold.

Now, aged 11, he is off the oxygen, and is now just like any other pupil at Hayfield School.

Despite his tender years, he is developing a head for business, and has already raised money for charity at the school with a Name the Bear competition there.

William Whittaker, 11, has set-up his own business, 'The Sweet Wizard'.

With his enterprising spirit awoken, he then told his mum he wanted to start a business selling sweets to fellow pupils.

She did not think this was a good idea - but suggested he could set up his own sweets business away from school. And now he has started selling to friends and family already, with plans now to set up a website too for people to order pick and mix selections of their favourite sweets, but not leaving them with any that they dislike.

William said: "I always wanted to be an entrepreneurial chef - someone like Gordon Ramsey. I'd been talking about selling sweets at school in the meantime.

"I went to the wholesalers and got some sweets, and now I'm looking at selling them to stockists, and on the internet.

William Whittaker,as a baby.

"I've created a logo, and called my business The Sweet Wizard. I'm setting up a website and bought a domain name. My mum's helped me register with the food standards.

"My friends think its epic, and one said my logo was cool. I think some of them might want to work for me when they're older, but at the moment they'd probably eat the stock! I think I'd be a good boss - strict but fair."

He also plans to go and sell with his mum at markets, and already has his level two food safety training. He has also taken an allergy training course.

He still wants to be an entrepreneurial chef in the long run, and is a keen cook at home, although he has broken two of his mum's casserole dishes while creating. His dish of choice is bacon sandwiches.