Family reaches out for help as they fight for son’s health
A fundraiser will be held to help the family of Matt Raphael Saraza pay for his upcoming operation.

When it comes to the health, safety and well being of their children, parents will go to any lengths – and one local family is living proof, as they confidently face the task of raising $20,000 for their son’s major operation.

Since their seven-year-old son Matt was born, Ronaldo and Monette Saraza have done whatever they could to ensure he had medical help.

Matt has cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder.

Within days of his premature birth, he was diagnosed with neonatal sepsis, a blood infection, and necrotising enterocolitis, a condition damaging bowel tissue.

He required major surgery, a laparotomy.

At around five months old, Matt was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling.

He was admitted to Manila Doctors Hospital in the Philippines for a shunt replacement. Earlier this year, Matt was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection.

Doctors said Matt was susceptible to infections because of malnutrition.

“It was a very difficult time for us then because my son needs to have the NGT (nasogastric tube) … through his nose to help him with his food intake and to recover from sickness,” Mrs Saraza said.

She said Matt had gained 11.4kg since the tube was placed. “[But] throughout the years, my son had difficulty eating a normal diet that children of his age usually have and enjoy,” she said.

“He remained confined to his pram and feeding chair with his head supported all the time.”

And now because of Matt’s growth, he needs a revision of his shunt, and to have his nasogastric tube replaced with a more stable tube to give him better nutrition.

Mr Saraza said raising $20,000 towards the operation would prove a challenge, but throughout Matt’s life there wasn’t much he and his wife wouldn’t do to make sure he was cared for.

A food and beverage manager with a local resort, Mr Saraza said before his family moved to Australia two years ago, he’d done the hard yards.

“I spent two years on a cruise ship just going crazy, working really hard and sending the money back home,” he said.

“Now I’m selling my car and buying a cheaper replacement.

“If you have kids, it might be really hard but … you do everything you can to see your kids are fine.”

Mr and Mrs Saraza, Matt, their younger son Rian and Broome’s Filipino community have appealed for wider community support of a fundraiser on Saturday, December 8. They will host a “Filipino feast” at the St Nicholas Emo centre from 5.30pm, for just $20 per person, BYO drinks.

RSVP to Mr Saraza on 0411 593 496 or email ohnad_saraza@yahoo.com.

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