Blake Woodward will graduate from high school despite a serious illness almost claiming his life.
Blake Woodward will graduate from high school despite a serious illness almost claiming his life. Mike Knott

Teen fought death to graduate

BLAKE Woodward’s fight to recover from a debilitating illness and his determination to complete high school is an inspiration to all who know him.

Two years ago, the 17-year-old nearly died from bleeding on his brain caused by a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

Despite missing six months of school, Blake graduated as a 2010 North Bundaberg High School senior as his proud parents, Jenni and Gareth, watched in delight.

It was a double celebration for Blake who also discovered yesterday he had been chosen to receive a $5000 learning scholarship from Ronald McDonald House Charities to assist in further study costs.

Mrs Woodward said her son’s battle to survive and complete high school began in late 2007 when he woke her in the middle of the night with a thumping headache.

He collapsed and was rushed hospital, where doctors discovered he had a life-threatening brain haemorrhage. Blake was flown to Brisbane where he suffered another haemorrhage. His parents were told he had a 10% chanced of survival.

“They inserted a drain into his brain and took out a piece of skull to relieve the pressure,” Mrs Woodward said.

Blake spent 12 days in intensive care and doctors were concerned that the AVM was in an awkward position, close to his central nervous system.

Mrs Woodward said her son underwent three months of rehabilitation, as he had lost movement on the left side of his body.

“He had to learn to walk and to do everything again. But that didn’t take him long. He had a good attitude and that really helped him,” she said.

After being allowed to come home for Christmas, Blake returned to hospital in January 2008 where he underwent further life-saving surgery.

Blake, who has re-gained nearly all of his mobility, said he was excited about his future. “I had to work extra hard to complete my senior certificate,” he said.



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