Christian Hermann in hospital last year with the rare nerve disease Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Christian Hermann in hospital last year with the rare nerve disease Guillain-Barre syndrome. Kathryn Cordwell

Rocky boy's incredible story inspires $878,594 in donations

CHRISTIAN Hermann's remarkable medical journey has helped inspire the most successful fundraising appeal the Royal Flying Doctor Service has ever run in Queensland.

The 2019 Tax Appeal, which featured the story of Christian's battle with Guillain-Barré syndrome, has raised $878,594.

It started in early May and continues until mid-August.

The money will help pay for a new hangar and patient transfer facility at the RFDS's new co-located aeromedical base in Bundaberg, which is under construction.

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RFDS (Queensland section) fundraising manager Katherine Ash said Christian's strength and determination were the driving factors behind his story being used for the appeal.

"While Christian's condition is rare, and to contract it twice is almost unheard of, we knew his story would resonate with donors because despite everything else, he is somebody's son, somebody's friend and part of a community.

 

Christian Hermann.
Christian Hermann. Allan Reinikka ROK240818achristi

"Not all patients are willing to share their stories, remembering that their story is recreating one of the hardest days of their life. However, Christian told his mum Kathryn that he wanted to give back in some way to those that helped him, and he has done that in an incredible way."

Kathryn said her son, who did not seek the limelight, did not hesitate when the RFDS asked if it could use his story for its annual fundraiser.

Christian was flown to Brisbane by the RFDS on May 15 last year after he was struck down for a second time by GBS, a rare neurological disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of its peripheral nervous system.

 

Christian Hermann is loaded on to the Royal Flying Doctor Service plane at the Rockhampton Airport.
Christian Hermann is loaded on to the Royal Flying Doctor Service plane at the Rockhampton Airport. CONTRIBUTED

Kathryn said paralysis was gripping Christian's body and he had to get to the Lady Cilento Hospital urgently.

Time was of the essence and instead of an eight-hour journey by road in an ambulance, Christian was in Brisbane in 80 minutes.

Two days later he had suffered respiratory failure. He was placed in an induced coma because he could not breathe and was unable to move any part of his body from the neck down.

But just as he did when he suffered the potentially life-threatening disease as a six-year-old, Christian staged a remarkable recovery.

 

Christian Hermann.
Christian Hermann at a physiotherapy session at CQUniversity Health Clinic. Allan Reinikka ROK240818achristi

Kathryn said it was incredible how Christian's story had struck a chord with so many.

"It's humbling and amazing that it's touched so many people and inspired them to pull out their wallets and cheque books to make a donation," she said.

"The RFDS is such an important service and we have to make sure it receives the funds it needs to keep running.

"We were more than happy to give back to a service that was vital in our time of need.

"It gives peace of mind to families like mine that we have access to this service.

"They haven't ruled out that Christian won't get GBS again so I feel at peace knowing that the RFDS is there on standby 24/7 ready to help."