Dig deep to help little miracles like Saylor

Published 10:30am 28 June 2023

Dig deep to help little miracles like Saylor
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Moreton Bay locals are being encouraged to dig deep and help raise funds for new hospital equipment, cutting-edge medical research and vital support services by donating to the Mater Foundation as part of Mater Giving Day.

Held today, all donations to the Mater Foundation will be tripled thanks to the generosity of a number of Mater Foundation donors who have pledged to triple all donations.

All money raised through Mater Giving Day goes towards helping people like Saylor Thomson, who was born with a life-threatening 2kg tumour on her spine.

The tumour - a sacrococcygeal teratoma - weighed twice as much as the rest of her body and is so rare it occurs in about one in 35,000 births.

Saylor underwent a six-hour surgery last August to remove the rare tumour.

Saylor’s mum Rachel Thomson, from North Lakes, said for 77 days, the Mater Neonatal Critical Care Unit was Saylor’s first home after she was delivered by an emergency caesarean more than 11 weeks early after developing heart failure in her womb.

“She is here today because of supporters of the Mater Foundation. Donations meant she was able to access lifesaving, state-of-the-art equipment, including incubators, ventilators, resuscitation devices, and high-tech transport cots,” Rachel said.

“Saylor and many other of the tiniest most vulnerable babies have received round-the-clock care from the amazing team at Mater Mothers’ and we are eternally grateful to everyone who saved our little girls’ life and cared for her during her 11-week stay in hospital.”

Dig deep to help little miracles like Saylor

Now weighing almost 7kg - more than six times her birth weight – Rachel described Saylor as “our little miracle”.

“She loves swimming and blowing raspberries. Saylor loves to laugh and absolutely adores watching anything her big sister does. She’s also very strong-willed, she won’t eat anything she doesn’t like and will make it known when she’s not going to do her physio exercises anymore.” Rachel said.

However, since coming home from hospital, Saylor has developed a condition called torticollis, a rare condition in which the neck muscles contract, causing her head to twist to one side.

“She subsequently developed plagiocephaly and scaphocephaly, a common craniofacial problem affecting her skull, in the moderate to severe range. She is currently undergoing cranial remodelling with a cranial helmet since the end of March.”

Today, Rachel is encouraging the community to get behind Mater Giving Day, as she understands first-hand the joys of being able to hold her baby girl.

“I sometimes have to pinch myself as I look down at her in my arms and she laughs as I touch my nose to hers,” Rachel said.

“I am reminded as I look into her big blue eyes that I’m holding the strongest little girl I’ve ever met.

“To go through the toughest start to life, to overcome so many hurdles, she’s already made it through all her worst days. To look up at me now and smile just makes my heart melt.”

How you can help

Mater Foundation Chief Executive Andrew Thomas said last year $1.6 million was raised in just 24 hours in support of the Mater Giving Day appeal.

“Mater Giving Day – Wednesday, June 28 – is the day the community can give to make good things happen,” Andrew said.

“This extraordinary fundraiser unites Mater staff, patients, loved ones and supporters with gratitude to deliver life-saving medical equipment, research, education and healthcare throughout Queensland.

“This year our generous matched givers have pledged to triple every single dollar raised by the community – so the impact of community fundraising will make a truly incredible difference to Mater patients.

Mater is the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider in Queensland, with hospitals in Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, the Redlands, Springfield, and South Brisbane.

Its South Brisbane campus is home to the southern hemisphere’s largest maternity service at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals, as well as Mater Hospital Brisbane and Mater Private Hospital Brisbane.

Donations can be made online at www.mater.org.au/givingday

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