Jack’s story

Since the moment their baby boy Jack was born, Anita and Ross have been told they will lose him.

It was at Jack’s 13-week scan that their joy was first replaced with fear.

Anita and Ross were told then that Jack had a rare condition, omphalocele, which meant his pancreas and his liver would develop outside of his body.

It was heartbreaking, Anita remembers.

“It was devastating to know I wasn’t going to have a healthy child, that whole fairytale."

It would be the first of many, many tough moments.

When Jack was born, Anita had to wait before she could cuddle her baby boy. He was flown to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where he would spend the majority of his first year on life-saving equipment, provided by your generous donations.

Anita and Ross would spend many long and uncertain days and nights there in PICU, riding an unrelenting roller coaster of fear and relief. They came close to losing him many times.

While in PICU, Jack would need renal dialysis and a special paediatric ventilator machine for every breath – no matter how stable he became, things would change just as quickly.

“We felt like we were living
on borrowed time.”

Jack’s is one of the most complex and challenging cases his doctors have ever seen.

The intensive care unit saved Jack’s life countless times over.

This January, finally, Jack was well enough and big enough to have his liver and pancreas placed back inside his body – a complicated procedure many believed he’d never live long enough, or be well enough, to ever have.

Anita said the only comfort they have, is knowing that when Jack needs emergency treatment, he has the very best available to him.

“The intensive care staff are incredible,” Anita said.

“They’ve stood behind us when we said we wanted to fight, and they’ve fought.”

"Jack’s a fighter, and the intensive care unit have always done everything they could to keep him alive.”

The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital is home to the busiest paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in Australia. Inside PICU, 220 nurses, 45 doctors, and 30 therapists work day and night to help keep the sickest children, like Jack, alive. No matter how rare or complex their condition, they never give up.

Other ways you can help

Everything we do for sick and injured kids is made possible by the generosity and support of our donors, partners and the community.