Medical treatment

£7,000 appeal to help eight-year-old in Stratford get life-saving medical treatment

An eight-year-old boy who had a 5% chance of surviving after suffering a life-threatening brain haemorrhage now needs £7,000 in medical support to help him recover.

Eight-year-old Szymon Wieribzcki at home with his mother Klaudia Wierzbicka. Photo: Mark Williamson S8/2/22/3580. (54794005)

However, the kind of medical care Szymon Wierzbicki needs is not available on the NHS and his family have launched a fundraising campaign to help him get the treatments that would dramatically improve the quality of his daily life.

Szymon is described by his mother, Klaudia, as a “funny, bubbly, spunky son who was always a beacon of fun and happiness to those around him”.

But in February 2016, the world of the Stratford family came crashing down.

“That day we thought we had lost everything,” Klaudia added.

Szymon was a healthy two-year-old when he was diagnosed with an inborn arteriovenous malformation – a tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins that disrupts blood flow and oxygen circulation.

As a result, Szymon suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and “had to fight for his life as the doctors gave him no more than five percent survival.”

Szymon Wieribzcki, eight, pictured playing at home this week with his brother Matty, four.  Pictured: Mark Williamson S8/2/22/3620.  (54794111)
Szymon Wieribzcki, eight, pictured playing at home this week with his brother Matty, four. Pictured: Mark Williamson S8/2/22/3620. (54794111)

“That period was the most horrific and worrying for us because we didn’t know what the damage was and what we could expect,” Klaudia told the Herald. “Fortunately, after several months at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, he was successful. However, the brain damage took its toll and left Szymon with spastic hemiplegia.

She added: “Spastic hemiplegia is a form of cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that permanently affects muscle control and coordination. Affected individuals have increased muscle tone, which leads to spasticity or tense muscles and exaggerated reflexes.

The extreme trauma Szymon has suffered means he now needs physiotherapy, speech therapy and neurorehabilitation.

The level of support he needs is not provided by the NHS and therefore must be done privately, which is why the family have now appealed for funds as the cost is simply too high for them.

Szymon Wierzbicki, eight, pictured at home this week.  Photo: Mark Williamson S8/2/22/3602.  (54794008)
Szymon Wierzbicki, eight, pictured at home this week. Photo: Mark Williamson S8/2/22/3602. (54794008)

“Every week we travel to Stafford so that Szymon can receive physiotherapy, but he was recently offered a place for intensive physiotherapy and neuromodulation as well as neurofeedback therapy. Through these medical treatments, Szymon can become stronger and learn skills that will improve his quality of life,” Klaudia said.

“The treatment will strengthen his muscles, especially on the right side of his body to rebuild and recreate new connections in his brain that have been affected by the bleeding.

“He’s not psychologically deficient, it’s the physical side of things that the treatment is going to help him with so by the time his coordination is compromised he may have pins and needles in his right hand which makes it difficult to holding a pen, he needs help getting dressed, and he needs to relearn social skills in relationships, but he can walk, eat, drink, and talk.

“It really is kind of a miracle and the treatments will hopefully reconnect his brain, opening up a bright future for him.”

Eight-year-old Szymon Wierzbicki at home with his mother Klaudia Wierzbicka.  Photo: Mark Williamson S8/2/22/3563.  (54794003)
Eight-year-old Szymon Wierzbicki at home with his mother Klaudia Wierzbicka. Photo: Mark Williamson S8/2/22/3563. (54794003)

The £7,000 appeal target will pay for travel and accommodation for Szymon and his family when they take him for treatment in Poland, but at some point he will need surgery to have metal plates inserted into his head.

While Klaudia’s husband, Maciej, is working, she takes care of Szymon and the couple’s other son, four-year-old Matty. She admits that some days there are ups and downs and when it gets really hard and she cries, it’s Szymon who comforts her.

“He’s a ray of sunshine. When he sees me upset he says ‘no mum, don’t worry, don’t cry’. He’s a very happy little boy. Sometimes he breaks down with the treatment and says, ‘Mom, I can’t do this’ and it can be heartbreaking, but he’s a very brave little boy and how he even managed to pull through scares me,” Klaudia said. .

Szymon, who is a pupil at a primary school in Stratford, also enjoys the support of his classmates. He loves football, reading, games, computers, math and that timeless pastime that has captivated generations of young and old: Lego.

“Unfortunately the cost of treatment, travel and accommodation is way beyond our means, but all you want to do as a parent is feel like you’re doing all you can. All donations will be gratefully received and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,” Klaudia said.

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/help-szymon-get-medical-treatment.