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Pastor’s miracle son ponders on the Bible during recovery from operation

Harrison is comforted by sister Chloe while in ICU.

Harrison is comforted by sister Chloe while in ICU.

NEWS | Anne Lim

Friday 18 December 2015

Lying on his hospital bed this week, eight-year-old Harrison Chilcott came up with a line that made his father Brad crack up.

“Dad, I reckon the Bible should be rated R or M because of all the violence and Genesis should at least be PG for mild nudity,” he said.

“Where d’you come up with that – mild nudity?” laughed  Brad Chilcott, lead pastor at Activate Church in Adelaide and director of Welcome to Australia

It was a welcome moment of hilarity after a dark couple of weeks for the brave father and son. After twin operations on 6 December in which doctors removed a kidney from Brad, 36, and transplanted it to Harrison, they were both in a world of pain.

“Harrison made a really bad recovery and was in intensive care for eight days,” said Brad.

“I’m still in a bit of pain and some days are better than others. The first three days you’re on so many painkillers that you feel out of it and don’t want to talk to anyone and I cried three times when I gave a lecture at a conference six days after the operation.”

Harrison is Brad and Rachel Chilcott’s miracle child. The couple were told when Rachel was 18 weeks pregnant that amniotic fluid was trapped in the baby’s bladder, stunting foetal growth. They were advised to terminate because the baby would die soon after birth from kidney or respiratory failure. But they decided to give Harrison every possible chance at life.

“It seems like he knows that every day is a bonus and a blessing that wasn’t expected.”

“We wanted to be able to say ‘We gave God every opportunity to do his thing and we gave Harrison every opportunity to be alive’ and to not look back the rest of our lives wondering ‘what if?’ We don’t want to look back on this period and wish that we had given every chance to natural causes,” Brad said this week, the day before Harrison was discharged from hospital.

“He knows that we were told that he wouldn’t survive even for a day, that when we took him home from hospital that they still didn’t think that he would survive. It seems like he knows that every day is a bonus and a blessing that wasn’t expected and he often says ‘I wasn’t supposed to live and here I am eight years later playing soccer’.”

Harrison was born on 25 June 2007 with only 15 per cent kidney function and doctors warned that he would need eventually a kidney transplant.

“Every year they said this will be the year when he needs dialysis or a transplant, but every time we heard that we took it with a grain of salt,” Brad said.

“But then this year his blood test results were significantly deteriorating each time so it became more and more clear that this was probably the year, and when it got to really bad levels that’s when dialysis began and we’re on!”

Yesterday Harrison and Brad went to see the new Star Wars movie on the first day of its national release, and for Harrison it was hard to say which was more exciting – seeing the movie or getting out of hospital. But most of all he was looking forward to being reunited with his family including his sisters, aged 6 and 3, in their new home. Yes, amid all the madness of the past two weeks, the family moved house, thanks to help from friends from church and Welcome to Australia.

However, it will be quite some time until life gets back to normal for Harrison.

“From here they start to tweak all of the drugs he needs to take to make sure the kidney is not rejected. It takes a few months for them to settle and get the right cocktail of meds. So he’ll be back in hospital every day for a blood test for a couple of weeks and then it goes down to three times a week for a month,” Brad said.

“But then they say this kidney transplant will last an average of 15 to 20 years so if all goes to plan once the drugs are sorted out then probably he’s in the clear for 15 or 20 years.

“Rachel’s mum is also compatible, so if he does need another in 15 or 20 years she’s ready to send another one over.”


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