Toowoomba boy home after dice with death
WALKING through the gates of school is a huge feat for Max Bennett.
The seven-year-old was left paralysed and on life support in June this year due to a rare form of an auto immune disease, transverse myelitis.
But he was back to school full-time last week and has been given good news from doctors.
Max's mum Rachel said the family was starting to return to some normality.
"We had his follow-up MRI two weeks ago and it showed up that the scarring and inflammation is almost gone which is the best possible outcome we could have had," she said.
"He is still doing weekly physio and they are really impressed with how he's going.
"He is still in AFOs, ankle foot orthotics, to help with gait but we have even looked at dropping that down on weekends too."
Mrs Bennett said Max spent eight days in intensive care, a total of a month in hospital, including three weeks in rehab which he was able to walk out of.
Max's disease meant his immune system tried to attack a standard cold, in his case it attacked his brain stem.
"When he was laying in intensive care and he was in the induced coma and ventilated, the doctors weren't optimistic at all. You could tell from their manner that they didn't expect him to make a good recovery," she said.
"So we never though he wouldn't recover, but the speed that he did was definitely a shock to everyone."
Mrs Bennett said despite their optimism, doctors prepared them for the fact Max may never wake up, let alone walk again.
"They said to us, don't expect any movement at all for the first two weeks, that was the first thing they said to prepare us," she said.
"But by day eight he was in rehab and he took his first step on day 10."
Continuing to defy the odds there is the possibility that Max will make a full recovery, unlike most sufferers.
"He is in the acute stage for the first 12 months and after that they will be able to tell us a lot more about full recovery and if he will be able to walk properly again. He has a little limp," Mrs Bennett said.
"But from specialist opinions on how he has recovered, and how quickly, they are pretty confident he will possibly make a full recovery.
"So it is unknown, but his case is looking good."
Max still suffers from some conditions of the disease including bowel issues, neck pain and fatigue and does physio and occupational therapy weekly.
Mrs Bennett and husband Wayne thanked Toowoomba for the support they had received, including through a Go Fund Me page which raised $6000 and a fundraiser organised by Max's karate teacher which raised a further $3000.
"Also St Vincent's Hospital, every time we have been back there, in emergency three times since he has been out of hospital, they take care of him down there," she said.
"They know him by name and have got a little wall of The Chronicle pictures and everything; it's lovely, makes us feel like we are not on our own because it is such a rare disease."