When Seth picked up an infection, no one knew just how serious it would be.


In a matter of three short weeks, Seth went from a healthy 11-year-old boy to being unable to talk or walk.

Last year in August, Seth caught what at first appeared as a mild respiratory virus, and his GP advised rest and a few days off school.

Just over two weeks later, Seth’s parents, Rebecca and Tony woke in the morning to see Seth’s head drooped to one side, he was unsteady on his legs and pain was radiating down his arms. Knowing something was very wrong, they drove him straight to hospital. By the time he was admitted, Seth’s speech had also begun to slur.

Intravenous antibiotics were administered immediately. However, Seth’s condition continued to deteriorate, and by the following day, Seth was unable to speak at all. An MRI revealed more than seven abscesses in his brain, three of which were dangerously large and required urgent specialist care.

Seth arrived at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead by helicopter, where further tests revealed a severe bacterial infection and abscesses in one of Seth’s kidneys and his spinal cord.

"We were at a point of complete desperation. We were relying totally on the doctors at Westmead to help Seth because we knew we couldn’t”, Rebecca said.

Seth underwent emergency surgery to drain the abscesses in his brain and kidney and was given several cycles of antibiotics. He spent days in intensive care under heavy sedation with doctors unsure if Seth had sustained brain damage, and if not, how well he would recover. 

But slowly, things began to improve.

“Bit-by-bit, we watched Seth come back to us. I’d say to him, “you’re trying to talk to me” and he’d give me a long blink. Each time he did something new, it gave us a little more hope,” Rebecca said.

Then one morning, Seth looked up and said, “Hi Mum”. In that moment, those two words were more powerful than ever before. It marked the turning point in Seth’s recovery.

Gradually, with the support of our speech, physio, and occupational therapy teams, Seth learnt to walk and talk again and, after ten long weeks in hospital, was finally given the all clear to go home.

While Seth has a long journey ahead of him, he gets stronger every day. He can walk short distances and is back at school a couple of days each week.

This year, Seth is the ambassador for the annual Bandaged Bear Appeal, and his family are encouraging the community to show their support to help raise vital funds for equipment, research and services that save lives.

“The Children’s Hospital at Westmead saved Seth’s life. The services the Hospital provides are vital, and without them, Seth wouldn’t be with us today.”


Help kids like Seth defy the odds. Donate today.