STRONG BOND: Hervey Bay's Janelle and Toni Chirio and their two twin boys, Hudson and Mason, have fought all the odds to get to where they are today.
STRONG BOND: Hervey Bay's Janelle and Toni Chirio and their two twin boys, Hudson and Mason, have fought all the odds to get to where they are today. IN-MOTION PHOTOGRAPHY BY KARLIE

GOOD ODDS: One in 2000 chance to win a $96,500 LandCruiser

HUDSON Chirio reached out with his foot and poked his twin brother in the back with his outstretched toes.

Mason, huddled on the classroom mat with 20 other kindergarten children, spun around.

"Stop touching me!" he whispered to his brother.

"Oh Mason," the kindergarten teacher said. "He doesn't mean it."

But Hudson's carer, sitting behind him, knew better. "Don't annoy your brother," she said. And Hudson laughed.

For any other children, this interaction may not be worth recounting. But for five-year-old Hudson, a boy who was supposed to be capable of nothing, it's incredible he is in a classroom at all.

"His prognosis was expect him to do nothing and whatever he does will be a miracle," his mother Janelle said.

"He would be able to move his eyes and nothing else."

Hervey Bay's Janelle and Toni Chirio had their identical twins via IVF, which was a rare outcome.

But seconds after Hudson and Mason were born, doctors whisked them away to the intensive care unit.

They were kept in hospital for several weeks before being allowed to go home. And for a couple of months, things seemed normal.

But when Hudson began having 12-hour long screaming episodes and suddenly went limp down one side of his body, doctors discovered he had suffered a massive stroke.

In fact, doctors would eventually discover both twins had suffered strokes - before they were even born.

For Hudson, the consequences were far more severe than for his brother.

He'd lost 75 percent of the left side of his brain, causing him to have more than 300 seizures a day.

"We cried a lot," Janelle said.

"And then we thought, you know what? He's alive. He has a twin brother and he has two strong mums.

"We were determined to do everything we could for him."

Janelle and Toni were told that Hudson would never walk or talk, he'd never sit or stand or be able to communicate.

And the hundreds of seizures he was having each day would likely kill him.

The seizures were caused by the damage to the left hand side of his brain, so Janelle and Toni were asked to consider a radical procedure.

No doctor in Queensland had performed a hemispherectomy before, but the Chirios were told it was Hudson's best chance of survival.

The surgery would disconnect one side of Hudson's brain from the other.

"There's always got to be a first," Janelle said.

The surgery was a success and Hudson has not had a seizure since.

Both boys have cerebral palsy and other physical and intellectual delays and Hudson can only walk a few metres at a time.

Hudson has had 15 brain surgeries in his five years of life but despite his many challenges, has developed a cheeky personality both mothers love.

Every day comes with new miracles as Hudson learns to do more and more.

"He's completely non-verbal but he is not intellectually impaired," Janelle said.

"If he wants something to eat, he will pull it out and bring it to me to open it up. If he wants to watch something on the iPad, he will bring it over to me.

"We have just started using an app that tracks his eye gaze and we are hopeful he will be able to use that to communicate with us more fully."

But their latest challenge as Hudson gets older and heavier, is transport.

Local charity Rally for a Cause has come on board to help Janelle and Toni raise enough money through an Art Union raffle to buy a specially modified Kia Carnival that will be able to better carry Hudson and his wheelchair.

 

Modified Kia Carnival.
Modified Kia Carnival. CONTRIBUTED

Janelle said the modifications would include a ramp at the back of the vehicle and the middle of the car cut out to make room for Hudson's wheelchair.

She said it would significantly reduce the number of times they needed to transfer Hudson from the wheelchair to the vehicle each day.

"So Hudson will be able to sit in his wheelchair while we are driving around and for longer trips, he can transfer himself from the chair to the car seat.

"If we're going to school say, we can put him in his wheelchair at home, wheel him into the car and lock it in and then wheel it out when we get to school, which will reduce the need to get him in and out of the car.

"They are 115cm tall and 27kg each so they are getting very heavy."

 

Kia Carnival.
Kia Carnival. CONTRIBUTED

With the boys only getting bigger, the ladies also need the new vehicle to maintain their own health.

"Toni and I have been told by our chiropractor and physio that we can't physically keep picking Hudson up because we are going to start damaging our backs.

"Realistically we need to be able to hold Hudson for as along as we can. It's not just the car - it's the changing nappies 10 to 15 times a day, it's dressing him several times every day.

"So when you're doing several transfers every day and you are able to save yourself from doing that, then it's only going to prolong the time that we are able to do other things without using the hoist at home.

"Having the new car would totally transform our lives."

But the Kia is only theirs if they can sell 2000 tickets, worth $100 each, through an Art Union raffle being run by the charity, with first prize being a 200 GXL Toyota LandCruiser worth $96,500.

With 1255 still left to sell, Janelle and Toni are hoping the Fraser Coast community might snap up some tickets as Christmas gifts.

"We still have a lot of tickets to sell but we are really positive we can sell all 2000 tickets," Janelle said.

She said special thanks must go to Rally for a Cause who she said have gone above and beyond to assist the family.

"They have just been phenomenal," she said.

"As soon as I approached them, they have helped us 110 percent."

To buy a ticket to win the LandCruiser or second prize of $1000, visit raffleforacause.org.au.



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