It started out just like any other day. Brayden’s mum Amanda had dropped him at day care that morning. When she’d picked him up in the afternoon, the staff said he'd had a sleep, and woke up with a bit of a fever. But he seemed fine.
By eight o'clock that night, Amanda knew something was up: he was rushed to the local hospital. In no time he was covered with a rash.
It was meningococcal, one of the most lethal infectious diseases around.
Brayden and Amanda were flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital. By two o'clock that afternoon, he was a different boy completely - he'd blown up like a balloon, and was covered in a rash.
”I went into ‘robot' mode,” said Amanda. “Breaking down wasn't going to help: I had to stay focussed, and understand what the doctors were saying. I was on auto-pilot.”
The next three months was something no parent should have to go through.
After Brayden was stabilised, septic shock stopped the blood flow to his hands and feet - it looked like he had frostbite on his fingers and toes. They had to amputate, otherwise gangrene would set in.
Brayden lost the toes on his right foot, the bottom half of his left leg, and fingers from both hands.
“It's an experience you never get over,” said Amanda. “Every day, there's something that reminds me his life will never be the same.”
”But what helped at the time was the support of the Royal Children's Hospital, and the Foundation. They've funded research that's reduced the diagnosis time for meningococcal from three days down to just one hour. There’s no doubt that this breakthrough made a huge difference to Brayden's survival chances. We’re so thankful every day to still have him in our lives.”