Community rallies for child born with half a heart
IF EVER there was an epitome of a cat with nine lives it is brave little Edmonton boy Samson Farkas.
The three-year-old, who was born with just half his heart working, has gone through more in his short life to date than most people will medically go through in their lives.
He spent the first 54 days of his life on life support, has endured two open-heart surgeries - the first when he was just six months old - has clinically died nine times and was never meant to be able to walk or talk - both of which he can now do.
"He has defied just about all the odds," mum Renee McIntosh said.
"He inspires us every day.
"He is beautiful, cheeky, loves the moon, loves his trains, being outdoors, his brothers - he loves everybody," she said.
But the unenviable journey that his family has been on is far from over and the community is now rallying around them in a desperate bid to assist.
Samson, who survives on 60 per cent oxygen saturation in his blood and becomes breathless quickly, is currently waiting to find out if he is viable for a third heart surgery.
If not, there will be nothing else doctors can do.
Ms McIntosh said they lived on "faith and hope", with another sufferer of the rare condition recently living into his 40s and medical technology improving all the time.
But life had been tough for her, partner Jason Farkas and their five boys - twins Lachlan and Jordan, 19, Brock, 16, Samson and nine-month-old Cruiz - both emotionally and financially.
They were forced to relocate their family to Brisbane when Samson was first born to be close to the hospital, and even once returning to the Far North, had to shift from Ravenshoe to Cairns to be close to a hospital.
Ms McIntosh has been unable to work so she can care for Samson, creating a huge financial burden for the family, and she was also diagnosed with type-1 diabetes.
A close friend recently launched a GoFundMe account, which has already amassed more than $4300.
Ms McIntosh said she was initially reluctant to accept donations, but now wanted to reach out and thank the community.
"It's just been amazing," she said.
"I've always been a giver, not a taker. I sit and think how can I repay these people.
"With these people behind me it gives me more strength in the world."
Ms McIntosh said they had been supported by charity Heartkids and had met other families facing similar health battles.