News

Meningococcal survivor Zaac Dow is a tough battler

Mike Richards

LITTLE Zaac Dow is one hell of a fighter.

Meningococcal disease did its best to take the five-year-old's life three years ago.

Zaac's battle to live came at a terrible cost - surgeons had to amputate his right leg below the knee.

Mum Simone Johnson, who is raising seven children with husband George, said she would never forget Easter, 2012 when a strange ailment struck down her precious little boy.

"He wasn't himself, he was very lethargic, tired, withdrawn - he wasn't himself at all," the 37-year-old courier driver recalled.

"I knew something wasn't right so I lay down with him.

"During the night he tossed and turned constantly.

"About 6.30am the next morning we noticed a small mark above his nappy line - it was a dark purplish colour.

"Within minutes we noticed small dots coming up on his face we immediately knew something was wrong."

Hospital doctors pumped Zaac's writhing body with antibiotics as his family struggled to comprehend the pain he was going through.

"All I knew was my son was squirming with pain and I couldn't do anything to help him," Ms Johnson said.

"Seeing my child in so much pain and not being able to help him was so excruciating."

Not long after they arrived at the hospital the unthinkable happened - Zaac's heart stopped.

"When he flat-lined my sister Nicole tried to hold me up and we both fell to the floor," Ms Johnson said. "All I could think was 'I've lost my son'.

"I started to say to God 'Please don't take my boy'."

The little boy and his mother were flown to Brisbane and a few hours later a team of medical experts worked through the night to keep him alive.

"I watched my son hooked up to so many machines pumping so many antibiotics into his body, watched his

body swell to the size of a balloon.

"Watching his leg die was excruciating."

Three years later and Zaac is on the verge of getting a prosthetic limb.

He travels to Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital twice yearly so plastic surgeons can release the tensions on his scars to ensure his body can grow properly.

"Zaac will always have obstacles to overcome in life," Ms Johnson said.

"We are currently trying to get a prosthetic leg with a knee joint in it, which will require rehabilitation to teach him how to use it."

Without the Children's Hospital Foundation Queensland, the impact of Zaac's ongoing hospitalisation would have been much worse for the family.

"The foundation has always been there," Ms Johnson said. "They were there from the start dealing with the smallest of things to the largest things so we didn't have to worry about it."

As Christmas approaches, Ms Johnson is looking forward to spending time with her family but she said she would love nothing more than to take her brood on a holiday.

"My ultimate Christmas wish to one day take the kids to Brisbane and stay at one of the resorts and take them to a theme park for a couple of days," she said.

"I would love to be able to afford to take time off and spend it with the kids making adventures for them every day.

"Time passes so quickly and you need to cherish every bit of time you have with them."

- APN NEWSDESK

Topics:  gladstone health meningococcal disease survivors



How to do Eat Street the right way

EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your Eat Street experience and to avoid a food coma when you’re only one stall deep.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Gladstone mum makes 'truly sad' announcement

TOUGH CALL: Lauraine Schmitt (picture at the back with reindeer antlers) described the Boyne Island Red Rooster team as "like family".

SHE ONLY bought the business off her parents four year ago.

Gladstone man's massive gold find claim, needs mining giant

BIG FIND: Explorer Jeff Harris clams he's found 'a lost Dutch settlement' in the countryside of Western Australia.

GLADSTONE man needs cashed-up investors after claiming he found gold

New boss leaves horror years, embattled project

Glen Lewis will start work as managing director for Realm Resources on March 6.

NEW BOSS of major mine looks forward to putting horror years in past

Local Partners

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

GET a sneak peek at Green Day's American Idiot The Musical as we go behind the scenes to meet the stars at a QPAC rehearsal.

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

72 hours of things you can't miss in the Gladstone region

The Screaming Jets are making their way to Gladstone in 2017.

YOU CAN'T miss these things to do in the Gladstone region.

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

Gladstone's 20 cheapest properties on the market, all under $150K

DIRT CHEAP: 5/239 Sun Valley Rd, Kin Kora is selling for $140,000

PROPERTY sellers drop prices as houses and units sell for bargains.

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!