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March’s Warrior – Harlan

When Harlan was just 8 weeks old, he suddenly stopped breathing – going stiff, blue and foaming at the mouth. It was put down to a breath-holding episode, until 4 weeks later when he had a convulsive seizure and his mum had to revive him using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

In hospital he continued to have seizures, and within 48 hours he had lost his ability to coordinate feeding. His swallowing was delayed causing aspirations into his lungs; he developed central apnea that caused him to stop breathing in his sleep; and he had problems regulating his temperatures, becoming hypothermic with no warning.

Harlan spent two months in hospital. He was discharged without any real answers, but after two days at home he became seriously ill. They thought it was pneumonia related to his aspirations, but tests showed his pancreas had stopped working. He spent three days in ICU and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Since then, Harlan has suffered from developmental delays, speech delays, and has extra fluid on the brain; but there is still no clear diagnosis that links all of his illness to one condition.

Harlan is now 4. He continues to have frequent seizures which often cause him to stop breathing. He sleeps hooked up to oxygen and an oxygen saturation monitor, and his mum sleeps with him every night to make sure he is safe. He is in and out of hospital regularly under the care of several different departments. He wears an insulin pump 24/7 and has a constant glucose monitor inserted under his skin that gives a live view of his sugars, alerting his carers to crucial changes; he has to have his temperature checked every three to four hours.

But despite all of the poking, prodding, needles, endless tests and medications, Harlan takes it all like a champ, trusting that it’s what’s best. He is so resilient, and happy to be here. He enjoys life however it comes.

Harlan loves Sonic the Hedghog, Mario and Lightning McQueen! His favourite colour is blue.

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