Brave boy battles back from flesh-eating horror
WHAT first appeared to be little more than a bruise, quickly became the root of a two year nightmare for a local family.
Seven-year-old Kilan Barker and his family have bounced from one horror to the next over the last couple of year's after the shy youngster was hit with a 'one-in-a-million' flesh-eating disease.
Necrotising fasciitis is a rare and serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body's soft tissue.
Five at the time - and now roughly 30 surgeries in - Kilan has bravely overcome the disease and is only now starting to return to the normalities of youth.
"It was on the last week of the September (2016) holidays. He had the common flu, he wanted to have a sleep, so he had a sleep and he woke up and I noticed this little bruise on his groin," Mum, Samantha Kreis said.
"I booked him a doctor's appointment and when he woke up I told him to have a shower before the appointment and I saw it had gotten a little bit bigger.
"So instead of going in when we were meant to I just took him in straight away. He couldn't even walk in. He had to be carried. The doctor had a look and she just said he needs to go straight to the hospital.
"From there, they had no idea what was wrong so they sent us to Toowoomba in an ambulance. We went there until about 2-3am the next morning before they said they were sending us to Lady Cilento in Brisbane.
"At first they thought it was meningococcal but they weren't too sure. After a while they just took him straight into theatre."
From when he went to Stanthorpe Hospital and landed on an operating table in Brisbane - less than 12 hours had passed.
"There was five surgeons and between them they'd only ever seen this once," Dad, Andy Barker said.
Tissue samples were taken and sent for laboratory tests before doctors could definitively say it was necrotising fasciitis.
"They have to find the bug and then create something to kill it because everyone's strain is different," Andy said.
"It's a bug that lives on everyone's skin, they actually have to cut it out. So if your bruise is a certain size you actually have to go double so you can get it all out.
"It's one-in-a-million chance that this would happen to anyone but once it gets in it just spreads rapidly. The doctor's told us had we been half an hour or an hour later he'd have been dead.
"The worst part was seeing him in a coma. I rocked up and the doctor couldn't tell me if he'd survive and I just broke down," he said.
The life-altering situation has decimated the family's finances. They say Ronald McDonald House were a godsend but every other expense has made getting by near-impossible.
"I got a ute here that I use to try make money out of fire wood but it's out of rego. I don't have money to put it back on the road. Trucks nearly up for rego and tyres and once that's out I'm buggered," Andy said.
"I had some money there but I sort of had to spend it to be with my boy. Basically all we're trying to do is get our vehicles back registered so I can keep working and bring the money in."
If you want to offer some support visit www.gofundme.com/pgxv88-support-the-barker-family