Huge support for Mostyn

By Kristin Edge

Whangarei parents Aaron and Paula Baigent were on the verge of welcoming home their little boy Mostyn this week after six months at Starship Hospital in Auckland.

But the emotional rollercoaster ride that began late last year for the family has continued, and the two-and-a-half-year-old will remain in hospital after doctors discovered he had broken his right leg.

Mostyn suffers from a movement disorder known as anti-NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) receptor encephalitis.

It's a rare condition identified only in 2007, previously often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric illness.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain caused either by an infection or through the immune system attacking the brain and it causes Mostyn to thrash about with his arms and legs.

Tests results from overseas will determine if he has to undergo more treatment.

It's been tough for the Baigents splitting their time between keeping a bedside vigil, tending to their other three children and keeping up with work commitments in Whangarei.

Mostyn's progress had been slow and with the few steps forward there was often one step back, Mr Baigent said. "On the good days he's calm and doesn't move. On the bad days he's crying but not thrashing around as much as he used to."

But what has helped the couple endure the tough ride has been the support shown by people in the community.

There have been offers of lawn mowing, care for the other three children in the family, as well as financial support.

"The community response has been amazing. And both our employers and fellow workmates have been there for both of us," Mr Baigent said.

Paula's coffee group had fundraised and were organising an event for early July to raise money. And in another show of community support, students and teachers at Whangarei Intermediate School, where Mr Baigent works as a teacher, have organised a garage sale for this Saturday. A lawnmower, a cute pink onesie, original artwork, coffee cups, candles, baking and a weedeater are some of the items up for grabs.

Students Carly Job and Hayley Eyles have been helping student support worker Christine Heke and art teacher Juliana Hoogeveen get the word out about the garage sale.

Money raised by a school mufti day and hangi have also gone towards the Baigent family.

"Mostyn used to come to school sometimes so we know him a little bit. It was pretty sad to hear how sick he was so it feels pretty good to be able to help them," Carly said.

The Northland Rugby Union is also paying the cost of installation for a donated heat pump. It will be installed in Mostyn's bedroom in time for his arrival.

Garage sale from 7am at the Whangarei Intermediate School Hall. There is time tomorrow to donate items. There will be baking for sale as well as a sausage sizzle. If you can help with the auction in July email

- Northern Advocate

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