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How a Warwick 'miracle kid' cheated death

Lachlan Coghlan refuses to let a brain tumour get in the way of living life to the full.
Lachlan Coghlan refuses to let a brain tumour get in the way of living life to the full.

LACHLAN Coghlan should have died two years ago.

But this 16-year-old lad is one hell of a fighter, refusing to let a brain tumour get in the way of living life to the full.

In January of 2015, an extremely severe headache knocked Lachlan for six.

"The day before he got sick he was out riding his motorbike and being a normal 13-year-old kid," Lachlan's mother Tanya said.

"Then he woke up with a massive migraine and he was off to hospital."

Lachlan was flown to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane where doctors found he had a tumour on the brain.

"They had to release the pressure so they put a drainage tube in his head," Tanya said.

"They had to elevate him to a certain degree - he couldn't lie flat or sit up straight - for the drainage side of things."

Once Lachlan was stabilised, doctors opened up his head and removed about 90% of the tennis ball-sized growth.

"It was just a blur to me," Tanya said.

"It was touch and go - the doctors couldn't say to us that he would survive.

"I just went numb, I was like a stunned mullet.

"All I could do was hope to Christ that he would pull through."

While the surgery was successful, Lachlan was left with severe impairments including being unable to speak, move or swallow food and drink.   

"He was like a newborn baby in a 13-year-old's body," Tanya said.

"He couldn't do anything - he was back to nothing.

"There was a lot of physio, occupational therapy and speech therapy - we had to teach him how to do everything."

To give him the best chance of survival, doctors prescribed six weeks of intensive radiation treatment that required general anaesthetic each time.

He also endured round after round of chemotherapy.

Lachlan has returned home to Warwick and continues to recover. He relies on a wheelchair to get about.

"His speech is a little bit hard at times," Tanya said.

"I still need to transfer him into a bath or a shower because he cannot walk.

"The doctors said he would never walk but if we hold his hands, he can take a few steps."

Lachlan's doctors describe him as a "miracle kid" because he keeps pushing through every barrier his health throws at him.

"He just goes 'No sorry, I'll prove you wrong' and that's what he actually does," his mother said.

Lachlan is one of 1364 Southern Downs and Toowoomba residents treated at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital last financial year.

The youngster is taking on a big challenge, helping to promote the annual Channel Nine Telethon, supporting the Children's Hospital Foundation, on Saturday.

The appeal aims to raise $11 million.

As well as supporting patients at LCCH, money raised during the telethon pays for vital medical equipment, research and a range of medical services at Lady Cilento and throughout regional Queensland and Northern NSW.

"The foundation offers the kids opportunities they wouldn't normally get and they make the kids feel at home even though they are in hospital," Tanya said.

"It's really hard to explain to people who haven't been in these shoes.

"But once you've been through it you realise how important it is to donate a few dollars."

 

Children celebrate the $12m raised during the 2016 Channel Nine Telethon that supports the Children's Hospital Foundation.
Children celebrate the $12m raised during the 2016 Channel Nine Telethon that supports the Children's Hospital Foundation.

Tune in to TV to dial up support for sick kids

THIS year's Channel Nine Telethon organisers hope to dial up $11 million of support for our sick kids.

The star-studded annual event will be broadcast across Queensland and Northern NSW on Saturday (November 18).  

It raises money for the Children's Hospital Foundation.

The foundation provides vital support for young patients attending Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, 60 per cent of whom come from regional Queensland and Northern NSW.

The telethon has raised about $32 million since 2014.

That money has been invested in life-saving medical research, vital pediatric equipment and for "comfort and entertainment" services for ill children and their families.

The foundation has committed $5 million to fund research into priority health areas including cystic fibrosis, childhood nutrition and brain cancer.

"The survival rates for brain cancer have not improved during the past 30 years and only 20 per cent of children with the disease will survive," foundation CEO Rosie Simpson said.

"And if they do survive, they face really chronic health issues throughout their lives."

The foundation offers a significant bright spot in the lives of children who stay at Lady Cilento.

It offers the in-house Juiced TV where kids get to star in their own television show.

It also provides the fun Clown Doctors, volunteers who entertain children with books, movies and games so parents can take a break, the Cuddle Carers program for babies, music therapy, pet therapy, special events and hospital visits by famous people.

"We also help pay for clothes for the kids, we offer travel grants for families to join their child in hospital and we fund the social work program so the families are supported," Ms Simpson said.

"The idea is to try to ensure the children have as normal a time as possible while they are in hospital."

The telethon starts at 7pm on Saturday and there will be a special documentary on the Lady Cilento and its patients from 5pm.

The entertainment line-up includes Leo Sayer, Pseudo Echo, The Voice 2017 winner Judah Kelly, Eurovision star Dami Im and rock band Dragon. - NewsRegional

Donate at 9telethon.com.au or by phoning 1800 909 900.

Topics:  channel nine channel nine telethon children's hospital foundation telethon fundraising health lady cilento children's hospital sick kids

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