£7,000 appeal to help Stratford eight-year-old get vital medical treatment
AN eight-year-old boy who was given a five per cent chance of survival after he suffered a life-threatening brain haemorrhage now needs £7,000 of medical support to aid his recovery.
However, the type of medical care Szymon Wierzbicki needs isn’t available on the NHS and his family have launched a fundraising campaign to help him get the treatments that would dramatically improve the quality of his daily life.
Szymon is described by his mum, Klaudia, as a “funny, sparky, brave son who has always been a beacon of fun and happiness to those around him”.
But in February 2016, the Stratford family’s world collapsed.
“That day we thought we had lost everything,” Klaudia added.
Szymon was a healthy two-year-old when he was diagnosed with inborn arteriovenous malformation – a tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins which disrupts blood flow and oxygen circulation.
As a result, Szymon suffered a brain haemorrhage and “had to fight for his life as doctors didn’t give him more than five per cent of survival”.
“That time was the most horrendous and worrying time for us as we did not know what the damage was and what we could expect,” Klaudia told the Herald. “Luckily, after several months spent in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, he made it. However, the brain damage took its toll and left Szymon with Spastic Hemiplegia.”
She added: “Spastic Hemiplegia is a form of cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that permanently affects muscle control and coordination. Affected people have increased muscle tone, which leads to spasticity or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes.”
The extreme trauma Szymon has been through means he now needs physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and neurorehabilitation.
The level of support he needs is not provided by the NHS and so it has to be done privately, which is why the family has now launched a fundraising appeal because the cost is simply too high for them to take on.
“Every single week we travel to Stafford so Szymon can receive physiotherapy, but he’s recently been offered a place for intensive physiotherapy and neuromodulation as well as neurofeedback therapy. Thanks to these medical treatments, Szymon can get stronger and learn skills that will improve his quality of life,” Klaudia said.
“The treatment will strengthen his muscles, particularly on the right-hand side of his body so it’s rebuilding and recreating new connections in his brain which were affected by the bleeding.
“He’s not psychologically impaired, it’s the physical side of things which the treatment will help him with so at the moment his coordination is compromised, he might have pins and needles in his right hand which makes holding a pen difficult, he needs help with dressing and he’s having to learn social skills again in his relationships, but he can walk, eat and drink and talk.
“It’s been a kind of miracle really and the treatments will hopefully make the reconnections in his brain that will lead to a bright future for him.”
The appeal target of £7,000 will pay for travel costs and accommodation for Szymon and his family when they take him for treatment in Poland, but at some stage he will need an operation to have metal plates inserted in his head.
While Klaudia’s husband, Maciej, is working, she looks after Szymon and the couple’s other son, Matty, aged four. She admits that some days there are ups and downs and when it gets very tough and she cries, it’s Szymon who comforts her.
“He’s a sunshine. When he sees me upset, he says ‘no mummy, don’t worry, don’t cry’. He’s a very cheerful little boy. Sometimes he breaks down with the treatment and says, ‘mummy I can’t do it’ and it can be heart-breaking but he’s a very brave little boy and how he’s even managed to get through it scares me,” Klaudia said.
Szymon, who is a pupil at a primary school in Stratford, also gets support from his classmates. He loves football, reading, gaming, computers, maths and that timeless hobby that’s captivated generations of youngsters and adults alike – Lego.
“Unfortunately, the cost of both treatments, travel and accommodation is far beyond our reach, but all you want to do as a parent is feel that you are doing everything you possibly can. All donations will be gratefully received, and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,” said Klaudia.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/help-szymon-get-medical-treatment.