Each year, more than 1027 admissions to the Queensland Children’s Hospital were children from Central Queensland.
Rockhampton’s three-year-old Hank Death and his family are sharing their story to help other sick children and encourage locals to donate to the 2022 Nine Telethon in support of the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Hank Death was born on 31 October 2018, like all new parents, his parents Cassandra and Aaron were thrilled to meet their new son, that elation became one of fear when
immediately after his birth, Hank had a massive stroke which left him with a quarter of his brain filled with blood clots.
The brain damage led to seizures, difficulty breathing, and eventually, required Hank to be put on life support.
He was quickly flown from Rockhampton to Mater Hospital in Brisbane for further monitoring and treatment.
Hank was in such critical condition that his parents, were unable to travel in the helicopter with him, and so they undertook the gruelling 700km drive without knowing if their newborn boy would survive the flight.
Mum Cassandra said upon arrival in Brisbane, Hank was put in intensive care, but being looked after by the best of the best.
“Hank finally opened his eyes on day five, started breathing on his own on day seven, and by day 14, he was transferred back to Rockhampton to continue treatment closer to home,” Cassandra said.
“The health journey Hank has been through can be super challenging, but as it happened right after the birth, we know no different.
“It has made us stronger as parents and made us both much more appreciative of the small things.
“Hank is now three years old and has suffered two further strokes, and now lives with left side body damage and cerebral palsy.
“He continues to be provided care by the incredible teams at Queensland Children’s Hospital.
“Hank is a little champion, and despite everything, he is the cheekiest, kindest and happiest child around.
“Despite the constant doctors, tests, MRIs, appointments, and head measurements, he never stops smiling.”
Despite his rocky start to life, Cassandra said he remains a proud little farm boy, loving his motorbikes, tractors, and doesn’t let anything get in his way.
Children’s Hospital Foundation Acting Chief Executive Officer, Olivia Jary, said money raised through Nine Telethon would fund vital medical research, life-saving medical equipment, and patient and family support services at the Queensland Children’s Hospital for sick kids and their families across Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
“Every single donation, no matter the size, helps us work wonders for sick kids just like Hank,” Ms Jary said.
“It’s never easy having a seriously ill or injured child, and that can sometimes be made harder for those living in regional areas, who have to travel long distances for treatment and medical appointments.
“The Telethon gives us the opportunity to help families get back on their feet through the funding of ground breaking research, state-of-the-art equipment, patient and family support at Queensland Children’s Hospital.”
To donate to the Nine Telethon, visit 9telethon.com.au or call 1800 909 900.
Tune in to the Nine Telethon at 7pm on Saturday April 23 for more inspiring stories like Hank’s.
The Telethon will be broadcast live from the Queensland Children’s Hospital, and the Telethon Concert at Fortitude Valley Music Hall on Channel Nine and 9Now.