'Very scary': CQ mum reflects on baby boy's stroke ordeal
After suffering a stroke which affected 25 per cent of his brain when he was born, young Hank Death is now a thriving toddler and is going from strength to strength.
Hank was born at the Mater Mothers' Private Hospital Rockhampton in October 2018 and immediately after birth had a massive stroke.
His first few months of life were incredibly scary and he was immediately flown to the Mater Mothers' Hospital in South Brisbane where he spent time in the Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU).
"It was a very scary moment," mum Cassandra said.
"He began having seizures and couldn't breathe.
"He was placed on a life support flight where I could not be with him as the seat had to go to a critical care doctor.
"My husband and I had to drive from Rockhampton to Brisbane which is safe to say was the longest drive of our lives.
"Anyone who has done that drive knows you don't get great phone reception on the roads, so we had no idea how Hank was doing. Not to mention I had just given birth and had to sit in a car seat with a seat belt over my lap for seven hours.
"We arrived in Brisbane at 3am where we were confronted with the sight of our newborn child attached to a wall of machines and cords, it was incredibly confronting.
"He eventually opened his eyes on day five and was able to breathe on his own at day seven."
Cassandra said Hank received amazing care while in the NCCU and the family took their little boy home to Rockhampton.
Today Hank is a happy two-and-a-half-year-old toddler, who loves cars, planes, trucks and farm animals, but still has some hurdles to go through.
"He has cerebral palsy which predominantly impacts his walking and swallowing. He can easily choke as he has no feeling down one side of his face, so he does not realise if he puts too much food in his mouth," Cassandra said.
"We have had instances where he has choked on food and aspirated some into his lungs and we have wound up in hospital, one time this led to sepsis. He can also have seizures, especially when he is unwell."
Cassandra is an amazing mother who remains committed to supporting Hank's rehabilitation to give him the best possible start in life through multiple medical and support services.
"We do physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, hydrotherapy here in Rockhampton plus we travel down to Brisbane every three months for further treatment at the Queensland Children's Hospital where he has treatment and tests," Cassandra said.
"We live on a farm, so Hank has a keen interest in horses and he have found a horseriding school in Rockhampton for children with disabilities, he absolutely loves it and you can't get him off the horses some days."
Between March 15 and April 11, Big W will be running a token campaign where you can purchase a token for just $2 with all proceeds donated to the Mater Mothers' Neonatal Critical Care Unit.
The unit helps more than 2000 premature and critical ill babies from all over Queensland each year.