Keep Vinnie Smiling

On February 28th, 2019, Vinnie and his family’s lives took a tragic turn. Vinnie, a healthy and active 3yo who enjoyed riding his bike and swimming at the beach, suffered a seizure at daycare in his hometown of South West Rocks, NSW. He was flown to Newcastle’s John Hunter Children’s Hospital and placed in a coma on life support in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. After multiple failed attempts to wake him from his coma, an MRI revealed that Vinnie had extensive and unexplained brain swelling. After weeks of waiting for the swelling to subside, another MRI confirmed our worst fears. Vinnie had suffered irreversible damage to the majority of his brain, and there was a chance that he may never recover beyond the minimally responsive state he was in.

Cause and Prognosis
The cause of Vinnie’s condition has been widely explored by specialists throughout the country, however still no answers have been found. In fact, we’ve been told Vinnie’s case is so unique that another of its kind has never been recorded in Australia. As it stands, we may never know why this happened and doctors cannot predict any future progress or outcomes.

The Current Situation
Vinnie is still in the Children’s Ward of the John Hunter Hospital. To our delight, he is now fully conscious and seems aware of everything around him. However, with little control of his body, he lacks the ability to communicate and is confined to a wheelchair, unable to complete any tasks for himself. He is showing small signs of progress almost every day and continues to work hard in his rehabilitation sessions.

What Happens Next?
It's time to start thinking about life when Vinnie goes home. He is expected to be discharged in August, just before his 4th birthday. Vinnie will continue to do his rehabilitation every day and we have high hopes for his future, however many modifications to his home environment are needed to support his transition. This includes the installation of mobility equipment around his house, and the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to support him as he continues to grow. Vinnie’s Mum has put her work life on hold to support him full-time in the hospital, and his Dad has been working hard to maintain the family business and support his family financially whilst also traveling 3 and a half hours to Newcastle to spend time with Vinnie every week.

The most important goal Vinnie’s family have set is to keep his big beautiful smile on his face! If you speak to his mum you will hear her say “if he can smile, so can we”. Let’s take this opportunity to support Vinnie and his family and help relieve some of the financial pressure associated with purchasing a suitable vehicle and making Vinnie's transition as comfortable as possible. Let's do what we can to help them keep smiling!

Article - Newcastle Herald 


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Organizer and beneficiary

Fiona Casey 
Jerseyville, NSW
Nicole Fuller 
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