Aussie actress’ heartbreaking plea
AUSSIE actress Nicky Whelan has made an emotional plea for the public to help her brother's family and their 11-year-old son, Max.
Ms Whelan, a former Neighbours star turned LA-based Hollywood actress, and her sister Katie Brannaghan, have started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help their brother Sean and his family get much needed care for Max who suffers from severe autism.
The crowd-funding page describes the 11-year-old as having severe non-verbal autism, a "heart wrenching, extreme and complex disability that brings with it unfathomable frustration which results in him engaging in frequent, intense, aggressive and violent meltdowns."
Ms Whelan and her sister describe how the family's home can turn into a "war zone" during one of his violent meltdowns, writing that the family desperately needs trained carers and in-house facilities to handle their son's outbursts brought about by the unfortunate condition.
"When Max is frustrated, the family home becomes a war zone and everyone in it is at risk. Max is now going through puberty and with this, he has developed an inexplicable strength that is specific only to those with this level of Autism," the GofundMe page reads.
"He will hit out at anyone who is within his reach, most often his mother but also his siblings and even the family's beautiful dog, Kimba. He will regularly tear doors from hinges and anything that is not nailed down becomes a weapon to be hurled across a room, regardless of what, or more importantly who is in the way."
Such is the ever present threat that Max's siblings, 13-year-old Tom, 9-year-old Harry and 7-year-old Georgia have special combination locks fitted on their bedroom door to lock themselves away during episodes.
According to the Aussie actress, her brother and his wife "are living with the fear of knowing, that it is only a matter of time until a member of their family is seriously injured by Max, or even worse."
Ms Whelan and her sister hope to raise $80,000. After just five days, at the time of writing, the page has reached nearly $57,000 in donations.
The money will assist the family in converting their home into a care facility and ensuring Max can have specialist carers around the clock during the tumultuous time.
His parents Sean and Liz sold their family home when Max was first diagnosed and have tried everything to help his condition.
They bought a run-down house in Mornington, Victoria, knowing in the back of their minds the likely damage Max would cause to the house over the years.
"We've poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into our son," Sean told the Daily Telegraph. "We've done interventions, biomedical diets, hyperbaric chambers, methyl b-12 injections, and speech therapies to try to improve his life. But it's taken a toll on us all."
The family is desperate to get the necessary care because the only other choice, which they say the won't ever consider, is to relinquish Max to the state.
But the parents say the situation is tearing apart the family.
"I can't watch my family and the psychological torment on my wife and kids," Sean told the paper. "We have to get out. We don't want to give up on him, but as parents, we've really got to think about the mental health of our other kids."