A ONCE bubbly, healthy little boy, Bossley Park’s Martin Hillawi is now unable to see, hear, walk or talk.
His life took a dramatic turn for the worse shortly after his third birthday in May, 2011, when his parents Baha and Zeina Hillawi began noticing their son’s change in temperament, development and personality.
‘‘Initially the changes were very subtle — simply talking a little less, but then they became drastic. Martin was hardly talking, began biting and even balancing became difficult for him,’’ Mrs Hillawi said.
‘‘At this time, Baha and I knew something was incredibly wrong and took him to the family GP. He was referred and admitted to the local hospital but unfortunately the doctors had no answers and Martin was discharged after three days with some referrals for scans.’’
Martin was then moved to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, which became the family home for the next eight months.
Fighting back tears, Mr Hillawi said his son then became the subject of hundreds of tests and trials but all to no avail.
He said that at one stage his son’s temperature reached 39 degrees — causing him to suffer a seizure for 36 hours.
‘‘The doctors were desperate to find out what was happening to Martin as they had no clue how to begin treatment,’’ he said.
‘‘Martin was then moved to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) as he continued to deteriorate.’’
Nothing physicians could do seemed to help.
The couple said that while Martin was in the PICU, they were ‘‘shattered’’ to discover through extensive tests that the doctors found a rare bacteria on his brain, which was extremely difficult to detect.
‘‘It has caused severe irreversible damage to both the left and right sides of Martin’s brain. The doctors could not stop or slow its growth — the damage became irreparable,’’ Mrs Hillawi said.
Doctors took five samples from Martin’s body and sent it to specialists all over the world in a bid to find out what was making him so sick.
‘‘But there were simply no answers or solutions. No one knows the cause of his condition. They labelled it unlucky,’’ Mr Hillawi said.
‘‘At one stage, the doctors told us to say our final goodbyes because Martin only had 30 minutes to live.’’
Martin is currently housebound and needs 24-hour care. The family are desperately seeking public support to help them buy a car that can accommodate his wheelchair so that he can be transported to his appointments.
They also need funds to buy a car seat specially designed for Martin, as well as fixing their bathroom to cater for his needs.