Jackson set for brain surgery after more than $80k donated
BITTERSWEET is a good word to describe Jackson Byrnes' journey.
Sweet is the outpouring of love and generosity from both the community and strangers abroad, which has seen a staggering $80,000 donated in just four days.
Bitter are the hurdles that still stand in the way of an 18 year old who has been dealt a heart wrenching blow.
- Contribute to Jackson Byrnes' crowdfunding campaign
- To contribute via direct debit: Jackson Byrnes, Greater Building Society BSB: 637000 Account: 72080329
The first hurdle was raising $80,000 to pay for brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo - the only specialist in Australia willing to perform the procedure. Remarkably, that hurdle has been cleared.
The second, is the $45,000 needed to pay for the Prince of Wales Private Hospital room where the surgery will take place on Wednesday.
Even after the surgery, the family must keep jumping hurdles to front the costs of radiation and chemotherapy, time spent in the intensive care unit, as well rehabilitation and physiotherapy to recover the use of Jackson's left side, which will be temporarily paralysed after the surgery.
The family has said Medicare will reimburse some of the bills, but all the costs will need to be paid up front.
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Speaking from Sydney where Jackson's family and girlfriend have travelled to appear on Sunrise and prepare for Wednesday's surgery, mum Rhonda Byrnes said her son was rendered "speechless" by everyone's generosity.
"He's overwhelmed," she said. "I gave him a cuddle before and he just sobbed. He can't believe that people have got such massive hearts."
Ms Byrnes said Jackson would go in for surgery on Wednesday where Dr Teo would remove 95% of his grade four gliomas brain tumour - an extremely fast growing an aggressive tumour.
"They've pretty much said if he doesn't have the surgery we won't have him around for much longer," she said.
"He's dying every single day… and that's why I've got to do something and I'm not going to stop until I do what I have to do.
"He's going to have ongoing treatment with chemo, radiation, backwards and forwards to Sydney to see Dr Teo, University Hospital, Lismore Base.
"It's going to be full-on and I'm just going to need a lot of help."
Jackson's girlfriend of three years, Jahnae Jackson, will be one of several family and friends waiting at the hospital.
She said the pair had known each other for years, from Casino High.