James' Story

11 Feb 2021

As we approach Lunar New Year, now’s the perfect time to reflect on the challenges of 2020 and plan for a wonderful year ahead full of prosperity and happiness. For many who celebrate this special occasion, Friday 12 February will be a great chance to catch-up and reconnect with loved ones after an unprecedented year.

It’s these types of celebrations with family and friends, enjoying delicious food and fireworks, that James’ mum, Li, cherishes the most. After a trip to the Emergency Department and months of occupational therapy at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, a strong support network has never been so important.

Almost eight months ago, her three-year-old boy suddenly fell ill with a mysterious condition that left him almost paralysed.

“One afternoon James had trouble walking, which was very strange because he’s always so active and energetic. He just wasn’t himself and as days went by, I knew something was very wrong,” says Li.

That night James was admitted to hospital, where doctors raced against the clock to try and find the underlying cause to his growing symptoms. Thankfully, the incredible team of researchers at the Kids Neuroscience Centre were able to identify the reason behind his brain and spinal inflammation just in time.

“Fortunately, at our hospital we have some laboratories where scientists have made groundbreaking discoveries behind the causes of spinal inflammation,” says Prof. Russell Dale, Clinical Director at the Kids Neuroscience Centre.

Not only were scientists able to diagnose James’ rare auto-immune disease, but the multidisciplinary team also provided him with world-class treatment that prevented paralysis. Only days after James received his medication, he was able to walk again which soon progressed into running.

Now, Li’s little boy has returned to the slippery dips and swing sets of his favourite local park. Staying true to his Rooster zodiac sign, James is energetic, determined and living his healthiest life thanks to the Hospital’s amazing care.

This Friday, James is looking forward to receiving special gifts in the form of red money packets. But for his mum Li, having a healthy and happy little boy is the best type of fortune.

We would like to wish everyone who follows the lunar calendar a happy and prosperous New Year. May the year of the OX bring you happiness and good luck.

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