Jackson Byrnes at hospital with girlfriend Jahnae Jackson.
Jackson Byrnes at hospital with girlfriend Jahnae Jackson.

Tired but happy Jackson amazes doctors with resilience

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UPDATE 11.05am: MORE than 90% of Casino teenager Jackson Byrnes' life threatening brain tumour has been removed during a successful seven-hour procedure.

The procedure took place on Wednesday at the Prince of Wales Private Hospital of Wales hospital in Sydney under the expertise of renowned brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo.

Mum Rhonda Byrnes said doctors were amazed Jackson could lift his arm after the operation.

"They're quite amazed with how he's come out of it," she said.

"The doctor asked him if he could lift his arm and he lifted it, so he was pretty impressed with that.

"(He said) He's feeling good. He's really tired because he didn't get much sleep last night but he's pretty happy."

The 18 year old, who is currently in intensive care, will have brain scans at 4pm this afternoon to determine the exact percentage removed.

Any remnants of tumour remaining will be treated with chemotherapy and radiation.

Jackson's girlfriend, Jahnae Jackson, said it was a long wait during the operation.

"He's really relieved," she said. "He's just really happy that it's over and done with.

"I knew he was going to be alright and that he was in good hands, but it was just a long wait.

"Thank you so much for supporting us."

Jackson's operation was a success! :)

Posted by The Northern Star on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The $80,000 private surgery was only possible thanks to an outpour of generosity from the community.

To date, more than $97,000 has been raised through almost 2000 donations on crowd funding website gofundme.

No public hospital system doctor was willing to take on the highly complex operation, so the family's only option was to raise $80,000 in four days for Dr Teo.

In addition, the family also have to fork out an additional $45,000 for the operation room and any additional costs such as time spent in the intensive care unit, rehabilitation and chemo radiation.

The family has said Medicare will reimburse some of the bills, but all the costs will need to be paid up front.

Jackson is expecting a visit from NRL star Matt King and West Tigers team members.

UPDATE 7am: THE Northern Rivers was rejoicing last night at news Casino teenager Jackson Byrnes' brain tumour surgery had been a success.

A post on the Northern Star's Facebook page announcing the surgery's success was met with dozens of comments and shares from relieved readers, many of whom had personally contributed to paying for the $80,000 operation.

"Congratulations to everyone involved in this amazing story! It truly is a credit to the community," posted Michael Barnes. "All the best to Jackson and the family."

"Such wonderful news, hope your recovery is quick and worry free," posted Denise Christian.

"I have been thinking of him all day. I'm so happy for him and his family," posted Jacqui Love.

Nearly 2000 people have donated to help Jackson through his gofundme crowdfunding campaign since it went live on April 10, with most of those having donated since Thursday.

Jackson had until Tuesday night to come up with the $80,000, but thanks to the generosity of the community that target was reached overnight on Sunday. Since then, people have continued to donate, bringing the total on gofundme to $97,260.

In a post to the crowdfunding page last night, Jackson's family said the extra money would be used to help pay for Jackson's rehabilitation and any other medical out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Medicare.

There have been some huge individual donations from companies and fundraisers.

The family acknowledged individuals and businesses at Casino who got behind Jackson:

  • Casino DIY Hardware.
  • Berrylicious Cafe.
  • Luke Bodley from George and Fuhrmann Real Estate.
  • Yamba Lions club $2000
  • Natasha Ann Holden and her amazing friends who organised the garage sale, sausage sizzle and sold tickets on Sunday $3000
  • Kiara McBeath who collected $2000 in donations,
  • Mark Ross $1000 in doantions
  • Oxford Hotel Fundraiser $8000

As well as businesses that put in large donations via gofundme:

  • Morris Finance
  • Rooftech Australia
  • Blu Logistics Tankers
  • Summerland Credit Union
  • Alstonville Quality Meats Ashley Thomson

However, while the big donations had a big impact, much of the fundraising campaign was carried by regular people donating what they could spare.

The most recent donation was one of those and came in the form of $10 from Joyce Capewell last night.

"Jackson deserves a life and as a parent of three sons I feel Jackson and his family's heartache," Ms Capewell wrote with her donation.

"My hope and prayers is for his life to be spared, also the comfort and peace of God for him and his family during this time of great trial."

UPDATE 5.30pm: CASINO teen Jackson Byrnes' surgery to remove his life-threatening brain tumour has been hailed a success. 

The 18-year-old emerged from an epic seven-hour operation just after 4.30pm yesterday afternoon, before being transferred to intensive care for post-operative observation.

Jackson's overjoyed mum Rhonda Byrnes confirmed her son had come out of the operating theatre in "great shape" with surgeon Dr Teo successfully removing most of the tumour.

"It's good, it's amazing news," she said.

"They said it went really well and they got most of it out.

"I'm just overwhelmed... I can't believe everything went so well."

It was an emotional day for the young man's family and friends who were anxiously awaiting news of the operation at Sydney's Prince of Wales Private Hospital.

This is the culmination of "four weeks of hell" which began with Jackson's shocking diagnosis, and ended with the family raising more than $80,000 in just four days to pay for Jackson's operation.

Mrs Byrnes thanked the local community for their generosity, without which Jackson's aggressive brain tumour would have claimed his life within weeks.  

UPDATE 11.55am: JACKSON Byrnes' is now in surgery and his friends and family are enduring the emotional wait to see how the procedure goes.

A family friend said Jackson went into surgery about 9.30am with the delicate procedure, in which celebrated neurosurgeon Charlie Teo will work to remove 95% of the teenager's deadly brain tumour, expected to take up to six hours.

Dr Teo has not given a percentage chance of success.

Billy Jackson - father of Jackson's girlfriend Jahnae - said the family gave themselves a warm group hug a few minutes ago.

"It was all a bit stressful this morning but now we've just breathed a sigh of relief," Mr Jackson said.

"We've got him to where he needs to be.

"He's in the hands of the world's best surgeon.

"We've gone through hell the last four weeks… it's still sinking in but it's down to a waiting game.

"It's going to be a long couple of hours."

Mr Jackson also thanked the people of Casino and Lismore and beyond for their incredible generosity in helping the family raise more than $80,000 for the lifesaving surgery.

Jackson Byrnes goes into surgery today to have 95% of his brain tumour removed. Good luck mate - we're all thinking of you.More here: http://ow.ly/LVryA

Posted by The Northern Star on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

INITIAL REPORT: CASINO teenager Jackson Byrnes will undergo potentially life-saving brain surgery at the Prince of Wales Private Hospital today.

He was recently diagnosed with an extremely aggressive and fast-growing stage-four gliomas brain tumour and given just weeks to live.

Jackson's only hope was to raise $80,000 in less than a week to pay for renowned brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo - the only specialist in Australia able to perform the complex procedure.

Thanks to an outpouring of generosity from the Northern Rivers community, the nation and beyond, Jackson and his family have raised more than $95,220 so far.

The family have said any money not spent on Dr Teo will go towards the up-front costs of hiring a hospital room for the private operation, any time spent in intensive care, as well as rehabilitation, physiotherapy, travel and accommodation costs.

While some of the costs may be reimbursed in part by Medicare, all must be paid up-front as the public healthcare system is not willing to take on the complex operation.

Jackson's story, which first appeared in The Northern Star on Friday, has even gained national traction with the 18 year old, his family and girlfriend appearing on Channel 7's Sunrise program yesterday.

So far, nearly 2000 people have contributed to the Jackson Byrnes Fight to Survive appeal since it was launched on crowdfunding website gofundme.com 10 days ago.


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