Boy re­cov­ers like a mir­a­cle

Un­con­scious for 11 days

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Strict diet and ex­er­cise is more than just a new year’s res­o­lu­tion for one As­cot Park fam­ily – it’s a mat­ter of life or death, af­ter their ‘‘mir­a­cle boy’’ re­cov­ered from a mys­tery ill­ness.

The Fe­la­gai fam­ily spent two and a half weeks in Auck­land’s Star­ship chil­dren’s hospi­tal af­ter son Jazz­iah, 7, had trou­ble breath­ing while at Otai­hanga beach on Jan­uary 27.

‘‘Jazzy usu­ally loves the water but on that day he didn’t want to go in the water,’’ mum Tee Fe­la­gai says. ‘‘He’s a water baby. I thought ‘ oh no, some­thing’s wrong with him’.’’

Jazz­iah was born with Prader-willi syn­drome, a rare ge­netic dis­or­der which slows in­tel­lec­tual de­vel­op­ment, and also gives suf­fer­ers an un­stop­pable hunger. Jazz­iah’s large size has meant he has slept with a res­pi­ra­tor since mid-2011, but he had never needed hospi­tal care for breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties be­fore.

As Jazz­iah’s breath­ing got worse the fam­ily rushed him to Kenepuru hospi­tal, and he was trans­ferred to Welling­ton Hospi­tal that night, then rushed by Life Flight Plane to Star­ship the next morn­ing.

He was di­ag­nosed with pneu­mo­nia and an en­larged heart, but doc­tors could not find a cause for the sud­den ill­ness, Ms Fe­la­gai says.

The fam­ily was be­side them­selves. ‘‘Go­ing to Star­ship, that’s se­ri­ous,’’ Ms Fe­la­gai says. ‘‘I was freak­ing out.’’

Jazz­iah might love his Life Flight stuffed toy plane now, but he was un­con­scious for the real flight due to heavy med­i­ca­tion.

He re­mained un­con­scious for 11 days, dur­ing which time spe­cial­ist doc­tors rushed off their sum­mer hol­i­days to treat the sick boy.

‘‘They thought he wasn’t go­ing to make it,’’ dad Solo Luapo says. Jazz­iah would fre­quently stop breath­ing for 20 sec­onds at a time.

Porirua’s close com­mu­nity pulled to­gether for Jazz­iah, who his mum de­scribes as hav­ing a mag­netic per­son­al­ity – ‘‘ He at­tracts peo­ple.’’

Jazz­iah’s prin­ci­pal from Holy Fam­ily School, Karl Vasau, rang from his hol­i­day in Australia to wish him well. Mr Vasau’s niece, who used to be Jazz­iah’s care­giver, trav­elled from Ro­torua to be by his side.

Ms Fe­la­gai had been post­ing pho­tos of her son’s or­deal on Face­book, and says the mes­sages of sup­port she re­ceived from friends and fam­ily pulled her through. ‘‘Ev­ery­body prayed for him on Face­book.’’

Jazz­iah fi­nally opened his eyes on Jan­uary 7. The next day he was bounc­ing around out of bed, and was able to re­turn home on Jan­uary 13.

‘‘They called him a mir­a­cle boy for wak­ing up like that,’’ Ms Fe­la­gai says.

It’s not back to life as usual for the Fe­la­gais, how­ever – the fam­ily is un­der strict doc­tors’ or­ders to help Jazz­iah lose weight, even to the point of lock­ing the kitchen door so he can’t snack.

He had al­ready lost a lot of weight in Star­ship – he was 73 kilo­grams when he flew to Auck­land, and came back 62kg. ‘‘It’s brown toast now, not white toast,’’ Ms Fe­la­gai says.

Fly­ing high: As­cot Park boy Jazz­iah Fe­la­gai, 7, en­joys life af­ter a mir­a­cle re­cov­ery. He was rushed by Life Flight plane to Star­ship hospi­tal just af­ter Christ­mas, and is now on a strict diet to help his breath­ing, says mum Tee Fe­la­gai.

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