Miracle St Albans boy, 4, is ‘living life to the full’

'Smiley' Jonty requires lots of assistive equipment and special therapy

'Smiley' Jonty requires lots of assistive equipment and special therapy - Credit: Archant

A father has spoken about the plight of his disabled son who beat the odds to live after a turbulent start to life.

Gareth Burger, a teacher at St Albans School, and his wife, a teacher at Aldenham School, had their son Jonty in 2011.

Now four, Jonty’s traumatic birth left doctors sure that he wouldn’t live after not breathing for the first five minutes of his life.

He was flown by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where medical staff attempted to save him.

His parents had to decide whether to take Jonty off life support. Gareth said: “He wasn’t expected to live.

“He came off the ventilation because we didn’t have a choice. The MRI scan showed a significant amount of damage on the brain due to oxygen starvation.”

But Jonty beat the odds and baffled medics by battling through, which his father attributes to his zest for life.

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Jonty now lives with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, which means he is unlikely to ever walk or live independently.

Despite that, the little boy wakes up every day and embraces the life he is able to live.

Gareth said: “He’s an incredibly friendly happy young man who doesn’t let his disability dampen his spirit. He lives life to the full. He absolutely loves people.”

The family have begun a charity campaign to fund the equipment and therapy Jonty desperately needs to live a full and happy life.

Gareth said both parents worked ‘all the hours of the day’ to support their son but the bespoke support Jonty needed “doesn’t come cheap”.

He went on: “We’re all too familiar with the cuts on the NHS; Jonty gets physio but it’s nowhere near enough.”

He explained that Jonty had recently undergone some important, but expensive, physiotherapy that encouraged positive movement to stop him from cramping up.

“Most parents would wince at the idea of spending £2,000 on something for their child, but that’s what we have to deal with on a regular basis.”

The family has organised a range of fundraising events over the forthcoming months but they are reliant on the support of the local community to reach their fundraising target of £40,000.

Gareth added: “There’s a statistic that the cost of having a disabled son is four times the amount of having an ‘able bodied’ child, but I actually think that’s more.”

The family will continue to raise as much as they can to support their son, who undergoes therapy three times a week.

To find out more, and to donate, visit Jonty’s click here.

Alternatively, you can donate £10 by texting JONT66£10 to 70070.