On Monday the 15th of April, Jacob woke up like any other little 3 year old boy. Happy, playful and eager to see what adventures the new day could hold.
It wasn’t until his parents noticed that morning that he had no control over his left arm and it was completely paralysed with no movement at all.
In true Jacob style, being the happy, laid back little boy he is, this did not stop him in chasing his dad around the house or playing with his 2 older sisters.
But knowing that something was not right, his parents took him to Gosford emergency that morning. And that is when their life was turned upside down.
The amazing team at Gosford knew this was more serious and did not hesitate to send Jacob to Westmead Children’s hospital where he would receive the best treatment available.
The next day, neurologist had discovered that Jacob had severe swelling in his spinal cord which had injured his phrenic nerve which caused paralysis down his arm and other polio like symptoms. By Wednesday, Jacob was struggling to breath.
By Friday, Jacob was fighting for his life and came hours away from death and had to be attached to a ventilator for him to survive. His doctors worked hard to find out what was causing this swelling on his spine and how could they make it stop.
This spinal cord injury was so rare to the doctors that they could not tell Jacobs family what had caused it, how long he will be intubated or if he was going to make a recovery.
3 weeks later and after many tests, Jacob finally had a diagnosis. He had contracted Enterovirus- this virus is commonly presented as a cold and can be mild, leaving no long term harm to many of its victims. However, in Jacobs case this virus pushed through to his spinal fluid causing the damage to his spinal cord.
1 month on and unfortunately Jacobs case has not seen any improvement. Long term, Jacob can not breath without the attachment of a ventilator and will need a lot of rehabilitation with his arm to gain movement back.
Unfortunately because the way this virus has affected his body and because it is so rare, doctors can not give Jacob or his family an expected outcome and his spinal cord may never heal from this.
Soon, Jacob will receive a diaphragmatic pacemaker to activate his diaphragm so hopefully we can minimise the time spent on a ventilator. This is such a rare procedure used in Australia they have a team in Cleveland America advising on the best way to handle his case. He will be the 16th child in Australia to receive a diaphragmatic pacemaker.
Due to the complexity of his injury, Jacob can be expected to be living in hospital away from home for the next 12 months. He will spend the next 6 months in ICU and the remaining time working on strengthening his diaphragm and learning to use his arm again.
Throughout all of this, Jacob is still such a happy, cheeky little boy who still manages to laugh and play pranks on a daily basis. He has shown strength and courage that you wouldn’t expect in such a young little boy.
With his parents by his side and 2 older sisters to still look after and such a long recovery expected, his family is going to come into financial hardship very soon.
Unfortunately the world does not stop and the bills do not stop coming in when you have a sick child, and being away from home makes it hard for this family to work and still be with Jacob.
Please dig deep for this family and help his parents stay by his side and help support they’re 2 other children.
This has turned Jacobs and his family’s life upside down and has changed their lives forever.
He was a happy, healthy little boy and if this has taught us anything, it’s to cherish your family and don’t take any of it for granted. Because things can change in the blink of an eye.