MARYBOROUGH’S 15-year-old double lung transplant celebrity Coen Ashton has just had his first sleepover in years, after undergoing his lifesaving operation 10 weeks ago.
“It was incredible to watch him walk out of our house with no oxygen, none of his usual medical paraphernalia, just a big bucket of tablets,” Coen’s mum Dawn said speaking from the family’s rented Melbourne home on Wednesday.
After waiting for 13 months, Coen received a double lung transplant in a seven-hour operation at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital.
The plucky teenager who has been struggling with cystic fibrosis since he was eight, then went into intensive care for a fortnight.
“Coen’s been home with us now for two weeks. The first thing he did was ride his bike up stairs. It blew him away. He hasn’t been able to do anything easily for many years.
“Then we had Christmas as a family and it was very special.
“Coen’s living a normal life again and it’s like watching a new child grow up because everything is new for him. He has to learn how to cough again and his balance is not fantastic because he now has new lungs.”
But Coen is not out of the woods yet. He was readmitted to intensive care soon after the transplant because of fluid gathering around his heart.
Three days a week he goes to the hospital for tests and rehab. He’s lost weight and muscle condition.
Dawn Ashton hopes that within eight weeks the family can return to their Maryborough home, which they managed to save from a sales contract at the last hour when some government funding came through.
“I admit it’s been a very tough road for us financially,” she said.
“We dream one day of being able to afford a holiday but meanwhile we are so grateful for the donation of Coen’s new lungs and the support we have been getting from around Australia.”
Follow Coen’s progress at coenashton.com.au, where more than 2000 people are visiting his Facebook site each day.