Mum’s anguish: ‘I didn’t know if he was going to come home’
A HANDMADE Christmas bauble reduced Springfield mum and local businesswoman Julie Ryan to tears last week.
The decoration - lovingly made by a friend - reminded her of the nightmare she's spent a year trying to forget.
"I had a friend who made me a bauble that said 'Choccy's first Christmas' and I found it when I put up my tree the other day. I cried because back then we didn't know whether he was going to come home or not," she said.
A year ago, Julie and husband Jordan's seven-month-old son Jayden - aka Choccy - nearly died from pneumonia.
Jayden's symptoms started out innocently enough as a cough and a runny nose, but deteriorated rapidly, and soon saw him on life support.
"We were basically told that he was very, very sick. I had to call my husband back up to the hospital and I pretty much had to kiss him goodbye," she said.
"I think my legs slid beneath me because the previous week I had a healthy baby boy and it got to the point where he may not make it through the night."
Not long after arriving at the Queensland Children's Hospital, Jayden had sepsis and was put in a resuscitation zone, and then intensive care.
"I probably didn't realise how many people knew us and the prayers and support and the love that we got from far and wide. I just didn't comprehend," Julie said.
"I think he had what they called complicated pneumonia, so he had half a litre of fluid on his right lung. He was right on seven months old," she said.
"Queensland Children's Hospital saved his life."
She spent two weeks in Ronald McDonald House during the ordeal, and now wants to give back with Choccy's Christmas Miracle Food Drive.
Julie and Jordan have already co-ordinated one fundraising drive for Ronald McDonald House, and now they're planning a second to hopefully make the trauma of having a sick child in hospital a little easier for other families.
The couple have compiled a wishlist and are hoping the local community can help fill it before Christmas.
"We've done one massive drive that filled up their pantries," she said.
"For families just to be able to access some biscuits, keeps us in the hospital so we don't have to leave and we're there with our babies 24/7."
Jayden has recovered from his ordeal, but his parents - who operate Jet Team Finance - won't forget those who helped them in their time of need.
"Choccy's immunity is a bit low and he catches everything, but he's just the sweetest," Julie said.
"Accidents happen and if a kid gets rushed to hospital, you've got the clothes on your back. So to have some supplies there just to make their day a little bit easier, I would love to do this annually."
Julie is looking for donations of candy canes, shortbread, biscuits, rice snacks, muesli bars, fun pack cereals, two minute noodles, tea bags, roll on deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, nappies, baked beans and spaghetti, fruit and nut packs, condiments, baby bottles, blankets, wipes and bibs, nappy bags and grocery store vouchers.
Donations can be delivered to Jet Team Finance at Corporate House, 5/22 Magnolia Dr, Brookwater during business hours, or contact email@example.com