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Running towards life

Hunter Brewster with his Satan's Little Helper donated gifts

Hunter Brewster can only see 7cm in front of his face but doesn’t let that stop him – much to his mum’s distress! However, he is frequently in and out of hospital, so Satan’s Little Helper hooked him up with a few ways to indulge his passion and pass the time

Born four months early, weighing just 610g and measuring 29cm, Hunter Brewster faced an immediate battle for survival. Doctors weren’t sure he’d pull through. When he did, they discovered that his premature birth had taken its toll.

Hunter was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing in the retina. To try and fix the issue, he had laser eye surgery when he was just nine weeks old – but it didn’t work.

"A waiting game"

“He can only see about 7cm in front of his face and that will only get worse,” explains his mum Tash. “One day he’ll go completely blind; it’s just a waiting game.”

Hunter is under the care of a team of doctors and has been seen by staff in Dunedin, Invercargill and Christchurch.

“The staff have been amazing, I can’t thank them enough. Because of them, he actually enjoys going to hospital. I’ve got trauma from the place but he thinks it’s the bee’s knees!

“He recently had tonsils and adenoids removed, nasal widening, and grommets put in. We’re also dealing with speech and language therapy and learning to move around better, as things like stairs are difficult.”

Tash says that his speech is improving “massively”, while Hunter won’t let anything get in the way of how he wants to live his life.

Hunting life with Satan's Little Helper

“He’s got no fear and lot of energy, but with a good bang on his head, he could lose his sight forever.”

“On the flip side, I think the fact that he’s so resilient is what has allowed him to make as much progress as he has.”

Aside from testing the limits of his mum’s nerves, Hunter also loves trucks and cars. So, Satan's Little Helper hooked him up with a brand-new toy bulldozer and a family pass to Bill Richardson’s Transport World.

“He loves diggers! He lights up when he plays with the toy and pretends he’s driving it. It’s amazing when he’s in hospital. He can’t watch a movie because of his bad eyesight, but with the toy he can sit in bed, play and use his imagination.

“He’ll sit there with a big goofy smile on his face. He also does all the truck noises as well, it’s too funny!”

Playing with trucks is one thing but seeing them in real life is a different beast entirely.

“He’s going to lose his mind when we get to Transport World! To see him have these experiences and appreciate the little things is amazing because it could be over tomorrow.”


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