Former Rochester resident Diana O’Brien has thanked the community for supporting a fundraiser to help her son Banjo.ELAINE COONEY November 15, 2012 4:39am
Former Rochester resident Diana O’Brien (nee Cheatley) recently raised $20,000 for her son who is suffering from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
The money, which was raised from a trivia night at Colbinabbin hall, will go towards Therasuit Therapy and weekly therapies for two-year-old Banjo.
Banjo is lucky to be alive after being born at 24 weeks’ gestation.
While floods ravaged Rochester and Brisbane, Diane was haemorrhaging in a Townsville hospital and Banjo had to be delivered urgently.
Diana was in Cairns when she started bleeding, so the Royal Flying Doctors airlifted her to Townsville.
‘‘The first few weeks were a blur,’’ she said.
Suffering placenta praevia (when the placenta is attached to the uterine wall close or covering the cervix), Diana was under anaesthetic when Banjo, who weighed just 662g, was born.
Diana was gravely ill and had three blood transfusions, while Banjo’s life hung in the balance.
‘‘We were unsure of what the future may hold,’’ Diana said.
‘‘There was a 60 per cent chance of survival.’’
That day, Diana saw Banjo in the neonatal intensive care unit.
‘‘They tell you he is alive, but you know there is a very long road ahead,’’ she said.
Diana stayed at Ronald McDonald House in Townsville for 95 days.
‘‘It had an awesome room, our own cooking facilities and communal area,’’ she said.
‘‘I spent all my time in the hospital or sleeping.’’
While Banjo was in intensive care, he suffered three life-threatening infections and his family feared the worst.
After 40 days, he came off his ventilator but he doctors said he had a high risk of cerebral palsy due to being so premature and the lack of oxygen throughout and after his birth.
Banjo needed oxygen and a feeding tube for 130 days while in hospital.
‘‘Being born a microprem (less than 26 weeks and less than 800g), he had a high risk of acquired brain injury,’’ Diana said.
In December last year, Banjo was diagnosed with evolving spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects his arms and legs.
‘‘He can’t hold his bottle, toys or hold food to his mouth,’’ Diana said.
‘‘He can’t walk, crawl or sit.’’
Banjo is undergoing intense physiotherapy called the Anat Baniel method, which kick-starts the nervous system and creates a pathway from the body to the brain.
‘‘There are so many different methods, but they are all very expensive and a lot of them are based in America,’’ Diana said.
The younger the child is treated, the better the outcome, she said.
Banjo smiles and laughs and is fully aware of what is happening, but he struggles to move, according to Diana.
‘‘He is trying so hard,’’ Diana said.
When Banjo completed two sessions of Anat Baniel therapy, Diana said his muscles had relaxed.
‘‘After the first session, he fell asleep with his hands clasped,’’ she said.
‘‘That was a bit cool.
‘‘He could not move from his back to his stomach. Now he rolls from his back to his stomach randomly.’’
His head was also more controlled, she said.
The money from the fundraiser will allow Banjo to start Therasuit Therapy next year.
More than 200 people attended the trivia night, organised by Diana, her mum Barbara Cheatley, sister Narelle Robertson and friends and family who collected donations.
Diana praised business owners in Rochester, Echuca, Lockington, Kyabram, Colbinabbin and Bendigo for their generous donations, as well as Robyn and Shane Ryan for helping to set up the Colbinabbin hall for the event.
You can follow Banjo’s journey on Facebook at ‘See Banjo Run’.
To donate towards Banjo’s therapies, bank details are on the Facebook page or email Diana at firstname.lastname@example.org
After months of speculation, Yarrawonga’s Alan Williams has been endorsed as the Labor candidate for Murray contesting the July 2 Federal Election.
Three Yarrawonga footballers have excelled at interleague level, representing the Ovens and Murray against Hampden in Warrnambool on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
Fletcher and Beau Harris might have only taken up go kart racing two years ago but they’re already showing the potential for future success.
CONSTRUCTION of Rochester’s gym is well into the swing of things, with concrete walls erected early last week.
Kyabram Football Club will host a family day next weekend.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
RENEWAL works have resumed on the Coliban Main Channel this month.
For most 10-year-olds, mischievous isn’t a word often found in their vocabulary, let alone having the ability to spell it correctly. But for Cobram Anglican Grammar Year 5 student Cadence Pang, it’s all in a day’s work.
Plans for the release of a carp herpes virus has captured the attention of international press.
Farmers from northern Victoria will join a protest rally over milk prices in Melbourne tomorrow, Wednesday.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.