Colleagues stand by family in hardest times
AT JUST 11 months old, Michael Wilton was discovered by his father Bryce seizing uncontrollably in his cot.
That horrible moment marked the beginning of a long medical journey for Wilton family, and their son Michael who was soon diagnosed with a rare condition, Hemiconvulsion-hemiplegia-epilepsy (HHE).
Despite ongoing physio and neuro treatments the debilitating seizures returned as part of the rare brain condition that impacts on a single hemisphere of the brain.
Stroke like symptoms impacted the tot on his right hand side, with damage being isolated to his left hemisphere.
The family even sought out treatment as part of the Medical Cannabis (MC) trials but were declined and told Michael did not have the "right type" of seizure.
After 4 years, hundreds of tests and multiple medications the only hope of living a relatively seizure-free life, would be for Michael to eventually undergo a radical surgery known as hemispherectomy, to remove or disconnect half of the brain.
Like any parent thrown into a similar situation, Bryce had to learn more about the condition.
"We just wanted to find people who had been through this before to talk to and learn how to prepare," Bryce said.
This was when the Linfox Business development manager quickly discovered he had more support than he bargained for, not only stumbling upon the Hemispherectomy Foundation, a group of parents whose own children had undergone the extreme, and often life saving, surgery, but also finding himself supported by his work family in the lead-up to Michael's major operation.
"Linfox as a company knew and worked with us on our journey, when I have had to work around a lot of hospital treatment," Bryce said.
"I never felt under pressure. It was really nice to know when I needed support they were there."
The family was also able to attend the foundation's conference which soon helped prepare for the mammoth operation ahead.
Ready at just five years of age, Michael Danger Wilton underwent the life-saving treatment
"The surgery took place in Brisbane," Bryce said.
"The surgical team was great, it went better than perfect."
Michael's surgery was such a success he escaped without any further loss of function, walking just nine days later.
"Well, 'Danger' is his middle name," Bryce laughed.
Since the surgery, Bryce wants to make others aware of children suffering from conditions similar to Michael's and the work of the Hemispherectomy Foundation.
It's an idea that has led to not only a company presentation, but a fundraiser put together by the Linfox team.
"I approached them on a little article in the newsletter to raise awareness, and then the team members began asking straight away what else they could do," he said.
"I told them the story from start to finish, doing it with something that is very close to your heart cathartic, to share with other people that didn't know.
"I hoped to raise money for his recovery and to share what will continue to be a challenging but full life.
"This really comes down to the company I work for supporting me like family."
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Mikey's post surgery recovery.