A mum has launched a major fundraising campaign to set up a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in Manchester after the treatment dramatically improved her son's life.
Sarah Dafner’s little boy Tzvi was only three months old when a case of the flu led to him suffering severe brain damage.
The youngster, who is now 5, was just learning to roll over when he fell ill.
On the third morning of his illness, he didn’t wake up. He had stopped breathing and gone into cardiac arrest.
Paramedics worked on Tzvi for almost half an hour before he finally started breathing again, but he had sustained massive brain damage.
It left him unable to respond to stimuli, blind, in constant pain and having seizures that lasted all day and night.
To begin with, Tzvi was spending three out of every four weeks in hospital because of infections and seizures.
Sarah and husband Reuven, who live in Prestwich, were told there was not much that could be done apart from 'therapy and hope'.
Sarah said: “His EEG showed no brain activity and Tzvi didn’t respond to stimuli. Not a sound came out of his mouth and he couldn’t bend his legs at all, even when unconscious. They were rigid.
“After that he started having seizures. We began trying different drugs with massive side effects and lots of hospital admissions.
"He was screaming in pain because his body was so stiff and the seizures lasted all day long. We were literally living a day at a time.”
Tzvi was so poorly that his consultant neurologist told his family she was concerned about taking a summer holiday because she did not know what she would return to.
But two years ago, after the family's GP showed Sarah a piece he had read about hyperbaric oxygen chambers, she took Tzvi to a centre in Morecambe to undergo the treatment - and says the results have changed Tzvi's life.
After just 20 sessions his seizures decreased dramatically and he started smiling for the first time in almost three years.
The chamber works by allowing the user to breathe in 100 per cent oxygen, which is carried through the body to tissue starved for oxygen, and promotes healing.
It works best when used on consecutive days, so while there is already a chamber in Manchester, run by the Multiple Sclerosis Society, it is only for adults, meaning the family currently face a five-hour round trip to Morecambe several times a week every time Tzvi uses the chamber.
Mum-of-six Sarah has been so struck by the change in her son since he started using the chamber that she is now fundraising to create one in Manchester that can be accessed by people of all ages.
Sarah says: “Over the course of treatments his sight has also improved – and he can now track with his eyes – and he has also started responding vocally and interacting.
"His immune system, which was severely comprised by the pain medication, has also improved dramatically as has his bone density.
"In the last year he has only been in hospital four or four times.”
Sarah’s vision is for a chamber in Manchester that can used by everyone, including patients with a range of other conditions, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and epilepsy.
She has researched and calculated the set-up cost would be £280,000, for chamber and the building.
Under her business plan she says it would be feasible to run at a £10 charge for children and £20 for adults, staffing it with trained volunteers, based on the model used in Morecombe.
Sarah has been asked by her consultant neurologist to speak to other doctors at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and has also run an awareness raising talk for local GPs.
She added: "I have seen first-hand the huge difference using the chamber has made, not just for Tzvi, but to so many patients with a huge range of conditions.
"If we can make this happen it will make such a big difference. It is literally life-changing."
To donate see justgiving.com/fundraising/hyperbaric19
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