Luca Sautchuk never took a breath in this world, but he’ll have an impact on the lives of people for years to come.
Luca was born sleeping on January 2 this year at the Sunshine Hospital.
He was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia at the 25-week gestation period.
His mother Lauren said the news devastated the family.
“Luca had a hole in his diaphragm and his organs drifted up into his chest cavity, pushing his right lung near his shoulder, his heart to the right and leaving no room for his left lung to develop,” Lauren said.
“I’d never heard of it before but it’s as common as spina bifida and cystic fibrosis. We began researching online and it was pretty grim reading the statistics and survival rates.”
Lauren said she and her husband Chris took comfort in knowing they weren’t alone.
“Finding out there’s other people who have gone through it, finding support groups, it’s comforting in a devastating time,” Chris said.
Luca’s parents also took comfort in the time they got to spend with their son.
They spent two days with Luca in a bereavement room, made possible with the assistance of a cuddle cot.
“There aren’t really any words to describe how it [the cuddle cot] benefited us during such a tough time,” Lauren said.
“It allowed us to form memories with Luca and spend some time with him. We were able to live with him for two days as our son before we had to say our final goodbye.”
Now they’re helping parents in similar situations.
Lauren and Chris raised more than $6000 through a GoFundMe page and last week donated a cuddle cot to the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Luca’s memory.
“To be able to help someone else do the same with their child is really overwhelming, it means a lot,” Lauren said.
“It was also amazing to see where the money was coming from, it wasn’t just friends and family, it was people all over the world who had been through a similar situation.”