One family’s plea for help

By Sina Filifilia Sevaaetasi 15 January 2017, 12:00AM

Incurable. Inoperable. Untreatable.  

These are words no parent wants hear in regards to the health of their child.  

Yet this is the reality for Samoan couple, Ropeti and Folole Lutu, who discovered soon after conception their firstborn son, Gabriel, has hydrocephalus.

Hydrocephalus is a medical condition which causes the enlargement of the head due to blockage in the flow of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and there is no known cure for it yet.  

The past two years have been critical for the Lutu’s but they have come too far to quit now.  

The pair have been together for almost 30 years and have overcome countless obstacles including several miscarriages and one case of stillborn.   

The Lutu’s only desire was to have a child to call their own but was unable to conceive resulting in years of false hopes and dreams crushed.

After decades of trying, in 2014 Folole discovered she was with child.  

Excitement swiftly filled the air, finally, a child to call their own.

Good news quickly turned sour as early scans detected an abnormality in the growing baby.   

On GoFundMe page set up by Gabriel’s Aunt, Lauagaia Lutu, the family details the story. 

“After reading the report of his obstetric scans early in his pregnancy, the doctors advised the parents to abort the child because, after birth, he was not expected to live past three hours after birth, that he would not make a sound, that he would be tube-fed through the nose, that he would not move as no muscles would develop, that his brain would not function - to sense, feel and hear.  The parents were advised that Gabriel would have no functional organs.”

The now aging couple were faced with a tough decision to make: to follow the medical expert’s advice and give up the remaining hope of completing their family or put their faith and trust in God and see the pregnancy to full term. .  

The Lutu’s chose the latter. Two years later, the boy who was once predicted to not see his first birthday is now defeating the odds.

According to his Aunt: “Gabriel responds to his name. He can hear every sound - loud or soft, he cries like any other child, he eats so much, he moves music, he knows his parents' voices and he can also tell there is a stranger around him. He uses his bowels like any other child. He cries when he is hungry or needs something. His head is extremely heavy. The only thing Gabriel can’t do is lift his head or sit up and so cannot learn how to walk.”

Gabriel has fought fiercely for life.  But his family knows his days are numbered as he cannot continue to live with his condition.  

This is why the Lutus are now pleading for help before Gabriel’s conditions takes his life.  They have set up a GoFundMe page, a website designed to raise funds online, to help fund the cost of medical treatment, accommodations, feeding and other medical expenses.  

 “Gabriel has outlived the doctors' prediction. As a mother, aunty and nurse, I cannot give up on hope. The world is blessed with so much gifted people, knowledge, wisdom and skills that I am encouraged to believe that there is a neurosurgeon or two out there who can save Gabriel,” she said.  

 “If you can help towards Gabriel's treatment, my family and I would be eternally grateful. His parents pleaded with me to help seek help from anywhere as they are in desperate need of someone to take a chance on their only child.” 

To donate visit their GoFundMe page

By Sina Filifilia Sevaaetasi 15 January 2017, 12:00AM

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