A SURVIVAL TALE: Peta and Rod Ellingsen with their son Parker, 7 months, who has defied all odds and is a happy, laughing young boy. Parker was born with a rare heart condition and the family was supported by HeartKids Queensland while undergoing surgery. To give back, Rod has raised a staggering $17,000 for the charity.
A SURVIVAL TALE: Peta and Rod Ellingsen with their son Parker, 7 months, who has defied all odds and is a happy, laughing young boy. Parker was born with a rare heart condition and the family was supported by HeartKids Queensland while undergoing surgery. To give back, Rod has raised a staggering $17,000 for the charity. Kevin Farmer

Miracle babe defies the odds

PARKER Ellingsen is a baby who has defied all odds and expectations.

Born six weeks early on January 19, his doctors detected he had a rare heart condition at about 12 weeks gestation, and termination was recommended.

Parents Rod and Peta said that wasn't an option having spent nine years and a number of rounds of IVF trying to conceive, and vowed to give Parker every chance at life.

At about 19 weeks gestation, Parker was diagnosed with Pulmonary Atresia with Ventricular Septal Defect, which essentially means the defiant babe was born with a hole in one of the main valves connected to his heart.

Parker is seven months and has defied all expectations.

"He's had two heart surgeries already, and in between those surgeries, he had a stroke," Mr Ellingsen said.

"He spent the first four months of his life lying on his back in hospital in Brisbane.

"Yes, to say he is a miracle child is an understatement."

Mr Ellingsen spent his long-awaited first Father's Day pounding the pavement in the annual Bridge to Brisbane run, raising funds for HeartKids Queensland, the charity which provided support during the emotional first months of Parker's life.

"It was hard to be away from each other," Mrs Ellingsen said.

"Not only were we going through the first-child cycle, but to have a kid with a heart condition just ... it was difficult," Mr Ellingsen added.

The proud parents have played happy, if not strained, families at home in Toowoomba for three months.

Parker is still to undergo further surgeries as he grows older, but his outlook on life is looking positive.

"We've always wanted to have kids and with the journey we've travelled, it's shown us just how precious life is," Mr Ellingsen said.

Mr Ellingsen was named the Bridge to Brisbane highest individual fundraiser, raking in more than $17,000. The family is hoping to enjoy their first Christmas in Toowoomba.

HeartKids Queensland

Rod Ellingsen raised $17,375

Charity is hoping to raise $1 m before September 30

To donate, visit bridgetobrisbane. com.au and follow the links to donate



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