Dexter is six.
Dexter's funding is running out. His NDIS package isn't ready for him yet and by the time it is, there will be a significant gap between Dexter's therapeutic activities that allow him to grow, become stronger, and help with his physical development.
Ron, Dexter's hydro therapist, heard about this and needed to do something about it. Ron is known for his long curly hair and being very attached to it. He will be helping to raise money by bleaching and then colouring his hair, PERMANENTLY, with a rainbow of colours. He will be doing this on the 30th August, 2017.
We are hoping that we will be able to raise at least enough to send Dexter to his physiotherapy sessions for a year.
COMPLICATIONS AT BIRTH:
He was born at 31 weeks gestation, and spent his first four months in three neo-natal intensive care units. The first three months were spent in Sydney.
His Mum waited eight days for her first cuddle. His dad had to wait for 22 days. Dexter moved to Wollongong Hospital when he was three months old.
Dexter's brain damage was detected at 30 days old.
As a result, Dexter has severe cerebral palsy. He cannot sit, stand, crawl or walk, independently. He is non-verbal. His determination is his biggest strength.
He has regular physiotherapy, and does daily exercises with his Mum. He works on his standing, each night and spends time in his walker, most afternoons. Each Friday, he has hydrotherapy (with Ron!). Ron is Dexter's first male therapist.
Dexter has some sessions with occupational therapists and speech therapists.
Dexter has a cortival vision impairment. The message from his brain to his eyes gets lost. His vision changes all the time, so we never know what he can actually see.
DEXTER'S FIGHT WITH CANCER:
At 13 months, Dexter was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma - liver cancer. He had surgeries and six rounds of chemotherapy, as well as platelet, blood and plasma transfusions. He was lucky and is now cancer free. He has been cancer clear for over four years.
Dexter has had two surgeries on his leg. The first was to release the tightened muscle. (His cerebral palsy causes his muscles to become very tight.) The second was a femoral osteotomy. Dexter's bone was growing at a dislocated angle. His femor was cut and re-positioned in his hip socket. It was screwed into place. Both of these surgeries left Dexter in leg casts for 5-6 weeks, each. Dexter's leg is turning in, again. One of his legs is now 2cm shorter than the other.
The surgeries caused Dexter incredible pain and set him back almost two years in his physical development. His muscles were held in one position for those weeks. He had to re-develop his muscles and re-learn how to use them to move his legs. The pain medications used after the femoral osteotomy caused Dexter to crash. He was unresponsive and a crash team worked to keep him alive.
Dexter goes to school at his local mainstream primary school. He has amazing teachers and is included in all activities.
He is a little champion, with an incredible amount of determination. He never complains, and is a happy, cheeky little kid.
He's been on a stand up paddle board and loves surfing - the last time was with Ron! Dexter has been on a flying fox and recently went to the snow with Camp Quality. He has a modified bike and beach wheelchair.
Through Dexter, we have raised about $33,000 for the Cancer Council, The Wollongong Hospital's Children's Ward and Camp Quality.
He's a great kid.