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A month after his 2nd birthday, my son stopped breathing.

Zac Sliwka
Zac Sliwka

By JODY SLIWKA

At 4.33am, on the 5th December, 2011, a month after celebrating Zac’s 2nd Birthday, he stopped breathing for no apparent reason.  My husband performed CPR until the ambulance arrived but Zac’s heart had stopped beating and had done so for approx. 20 minutes.  He had suffered a cardiac arrest.  The ambulance resuscitated him and took him to Canberra hospital where he was stabilised and then helicoptered to Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick.  Zac spent the next 11 days in an induced coma.  MRI and CT scans confirmed that Zac had acquired a brain injury.

My husband and I spent 11 weeks in Sydney with Zac with my in-laws travelling every weekend to bring our 3 month old baby, Max to see us for the duration that we were there.

Once Zac was out of the induced coma we started on rehabilitation.  He was being tube fed, couldn’t hold his head up or even grasp hold of our fingers.  Zac had to try and relearn everything once again.

17 months post-accident, Zac has made some amazing progress, through sheer determination, and a hell of a lot of privately paid early intervention therapy.  At the moment Zac’s therapy is costing us approx. $2000 a month; this has been self-funded and has been paid for by family and friends.  Zac can now sit unassisted on the floor; he can self-feed finger foods and in the past 5 weeks has begun to commando crawl.  At the moment we are trying to teach him to use a walking frame, his body and coordination and just not strong enough yet.  Unfortunately we are yet to have him speak again.  We are hoping this will come, but it is one of the hardest things to do.  We have high hopes for Zac to live as normal life as possible, and with the progress he has made he is giving every indication that he will be able to do so, however we need to keep up with his extensive therapy to give him this chance.

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We are currently in the running through Sunsuper Dreams to win $5000 to go towards therapy for Zac, it is based on a voting system with the highest votes winning.  I was hoping that the Mamamia network could support us and give us the best chance of winning the money for Zac’s much needed therapy.  The voting closes in just a few days.

Please help 3 year old Zac Sliwka obtain a therapy grant just by voting on the below link.Winning this grant money would provide Zac with 5 months of much needed conductive education therapy. Please vote below and forward the link to your friends family and colleagues – even repost on your Facebook pages. Click here to vote, the dream with the most votes at the end of the month will be awarded a $5,000 grant.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who voted for Zac in the Sunsuper Dreams competition. We are pleased to advise that we were successful with winning the $5000 therapy grant.  The money has been transferred by Sunsuper to Friends of Brain Injured Children in Canberra which will then pay Zac’s therapists for the next couple of months.

We have been overwhelmed with the response received from everyone including the Mamamia readers.  Due to the positive response received, we have set up a Facebook page; Zac Sliwka Believe Achieve so everyone can follow his progress.

This photo is from Friday’s therapy session. Zac is standing, it is in the cupboard so he has a little support, but he is holding himself up, so we are so positive that he will be walking in the near future:

Zac
Zac
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Zac will start kindergarten in February 2015; he is enrolled in a mainstream school with a learning support unit attached.  The children will be integrated for certain activities throughout the day, and at any stage the teachers believe Zac is ready, they will integrate him fully into the mainstream classes.  So the next year and a half will be a lot of hard work continuing with the extensive early intervention therapies.  We hope, and totally believe achievable, that Zac will be fully toilet trained, walking independently with his walker, and communicating with his alternative communication device (and hopefully some verbal words!)

With this, come the high costs associated with private therapy.  That’s where friends and family have also set the wheels in motion for a fundraising event.  The details are posted on Zac’s Facebook page.  Also tax free deductible donations can be made.  If you are interested in attending the event, or making a donation, please contact me on [email protected]

We once again want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone for supporting us and most of all, supporting our little boy Zac.

zac 2

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