2-year-old Jackson Kelleher and his dad David take a close look at a blue tongue lizard at Australia Zoo.
2-year-old Jackson Kelleher and his dad David take a close look at a blue tongue lizard at Australia Zoo. Cade Mooney

Fighting for little Jackson

JACKSON Keleher is a little miracle.

His dad David and Sunshine Coast physiotherapist Anette Jonischkeit are sure of it.

But they say it has been a miracle of hard work.

Jackson, who is now two, was just three hours old when he suffered a brain injury.

His quadriplegic cerebral palsy was supposed to leave him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

But David would not accept the diagnosis.

Jackson's medical condition was linked to a lack of oxygen in his blood and organs at birth.

David was told his son would never walk and never talk, and that he would be able to move just 5% of his body.

When Jackson was 10 months old, the family was introduced to Wurtulla therapist Anette Jonischkeit and her German therapy Vojta.

Mrs Jonischkeit, the only Vojta therapist in Australia, uses the manipulation of pressure points to alert hidden pathways in the brain to control basic movement.

"We heard about Vojta from some German friends we met in Sydney, who also have a child with cerebral palsy," David said.

"I made the phone call to Anette and we were on the plane the very next day.

"Since then, Jackson has improved in leaps and bounds."

David practises the Vojta treatment with Jackson for 15 minutes at a time, four times a day.

The family returns to the Coast to learn new treatments every three months.

"Vojta is about accessing the brain to allow the right movement and the right muscles to kick in," Mrs Jonischkeit said.

"In Jackson's case, his brain injury did not allow his body to know the correct movements. By targeting ideal posture and movement, he was able to achieve these things."

Slowly, Jackson has started to crawl, sit up straight and in June this year, he took his first steps.

He has now gained strength in 33% of his body and continues to improve.

And since Jackson can now stand and crawl on his own, he and his dad made a trip to Australia Zoo to cuddle up to a koala, a lizard and a snake.

These small victories remind David of the ordeal he has overcome, including a marriage break up with Jackson's mother and giving up his job as a designer to care for Jackson full time.

He has now set up the charity Walk Talk Fly to try to cover Jackson's huge medical and equipment costs in the future.

"Everything is worth it, just to see him stand and take his first steps was more than anyone could ask for," David said.

"There is still some way to go though, and Jackson's future is the great unknown.

"There is much more we can do to improve his chances of living an independent life.

"That is why we are fundraising."



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