Thorn Pochyly with his teacher Jenny Snodgrass and mum Kylie at Coffs Harbour Public School.
Thorn Pochyly with his teacher Jenny Snodgrass and mum Kylie at Coffs Harbour Public School. Bruce Thomas

Young survivor inspires hope

WITHIN 12 hours of realising something was wrong with her seven-month-old baby, a purple rash had spread all over his body and his organs had shut down.

Kylie Pochyly knows too well how quickly the deadly meningococcal disease can strike.

Her son Thorn, now 10, was lucky to survive. He suffered brain damage, kidney failure, scarring and had his foot amputated at the ankle.

But survive he did, and on Friday he’ll wear purple to mark the inaugural National Meningococcal Day.

Coffs Harbour Public School, where Thorn attends classes, will run educational activities to give the children a better understanding of what their schoolmate has been through.

The students will be encouraged to wear purple for a gold coin donation which will go to the Violet Foundation.

The Violet Foundation was designed to raise awareness, support victims and their families and provide funding for research into prevention.

Thorn is excited that everyone will be learning about the disease which has profoundly impacted his life.

“I feel much better since getting the kidney transplant,” Thorn said.

Pointing to his prosthetic leg, which needs replacing every six months, he said “friends can kick me here and I can’t feel it”.

Ms Pochyly said she was grateful to school principal Peter Hickey for agreeing to raise awareness among students.

“Also, I’ll have a stand at the Sensations Cafe (in the BP Service Station at Park Beach) where I’ll be giving out information booklets, key rings, magnets and balloons and collecting donations for the Violet Foundation,” Ms Pochyly said.

“There are so many deaths – we need to make people aware of the symptoms so they can quickly respond.”



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