Community rallying after teen's shock diagnosis
FOR 16-year-old Marcus Maxwell-Jones, life was going well until a tragic diagnosis left him on dialysis three times a week.
Marcus was recently diagnosed with end stage kidney disease.
And at one stage, he almost died.
A fit and healthy teenager, the diagnosis came as a "a big shock" to his family.
Now the town is rallying behind him, his mother Janine, father Graeme, twin brother Miles, younger sister Diana and girlfriend Gemma Mcarlein, to help raise urgently needed funds to cover the cost of treatment and trips to hospital.
Marcus's symptoms started with headaches then spiralled into migraines, along with vomiting.
It was originally thought to be due to a head injury he received from playing gridiron last year.
After Marcus's doctor performed blood tests, the results were shocking; his kidneys were only working at 30% capacity with high potassium levels.
The day after receiving the results, Marcus went into acute kidney failure.
He was rushed to the emergency department at the Nambour General Hospital, in which he spent the next six days in paediatrics and the renal ward, where he was stabilised and started on dialysis.
Marcus is now waiting for a kidney transplant, and at the moment his mum is being tested for suitability.
Marcus has dialysis Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3pm-8pm.
For Marcus's mother Janine, it was a big shock to find out her young son was critically ill.
"To be told that he had end stage kidney failure was completely out of the blue," Mrs Maxwell-Jones said.
"The confusing part is we still don't know how he ended up with it."
Marcus's family is hoping one more test may hold the answers they have been waiting for.
"When the first two biopsies came back they were so scared that they didn't give any indicators to tell us what's gone wrong," Mrs Maxwell-Jones said.
"You feel quiet helpless; you're sitting there watching your child go through it.
"It's been a rapid decline in the last six months.
"It's a settling in process to being on dialysis, he is struggling a bit. He has a lot of heart issues.
"He is keeping positive spirits. Our lives have come to a stop.
"Work for us now takes a sideways step until his kidney transplant, making it difficult times."
But the road ahead will not be easy. Marcus will have to wait at least eight to 12 months, possibly longer, for a transplant.
"We are hoping because of his age it will not be longer than 12 months," Mrs Maxwell-Jones said.
"This is his time, his teenage years are being put on hold. Gemma has really been what has pulled him through.
"He's going to have to learn to manage medications for the rest of his life and he will need a transplant every 15-20 years for the rest of his life."
Marcus is in high spirits.
Although his health issues may spell the end of his career as an up and coming gridiron talent for the Sunshine Coast Spartans, he is looking towards a career as a chef.
For now though the family will have to continue to live with constant trips to the hospital.
This week alone, Marcus has been rushed to ED.
To donate to Marcus visit gofundme.com/ marcuss-transplant-journey- 2urbbbw?ssid=776878491 &pos=2.