Bud's recovery after seven strokes in 11 days

Jed and Karen Gottaas hope to bring Darren home soon from hospital. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Jed and Karen Gottaas hope to bring Darren home soon from hospital. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Shell Cove father Darren "Bud" Gottaas has beaten cancer twice but a series of strokes has left him and his family stricken.

The 41-year-old is recovering in Port Kembla Hospital after seven strokes over 11 days in February left him unable to walk, to eat, even to talk.

His wife Karen said the father of one was gaining strength and now had limited mobility and communication but she was told last week that he may never walk or swallow food or water again.

She said she was grateful to the support of family and friends who have organised a fund-raiser to get him home for the next stage of his recovery.

Benefit for Bud, to be held at Shellharbour's Central Hotel at 6pm on August 29, will raise funds to modify the family home, purchase specialist equipment and cover ongoing medical expenses.

''He struggled through childhood and adulthood, and for this to happen when he's just 41 and fit and healthy is devastating.''

"My husband had childhood leukaemia and doctors think that the strokes were related to a weakened artery caused by radiation treatment at the time," Mrs Gottaas said.

"Then he had thyroid cancer in his twenties.

"So he struggled through early childhood and adulthood, and for this to happen when he's just 41 and fit and healthy is devastating."

Mr Gottaas was in Shellharbour Hospital for an unrelated condition when he had the first stroke and was transferred to Wollongong Hospital where he suffered the rest.

The seventh stroke was so severe he had to be airlifted to Liverpool Hospital for life-saving surgery.

He's now back undergoing rehabilitation at Port Kembla and his speech is returning gradually although he's still tube-fed and confined to a wheelchair.

"It was really scary in the early days when he was in a critical condition - for me, our [eight-year-old] son Jed and family and friends," Mrs Gottaas said.

"He's starting to make progress but the strokes have affected the part of his brain which controls emotion and he's upset and crying a lot of the time which is hard to see, especially for Jed.

"We try to remain positive and we hope that by getting him home, and getting him equipment like a power chair, which will help him regain his independence, he will feel a lot better."

The Illawarra Cancer Carers is one of the groups supporting the event and organisers are calling for donations or items for the auction.

For donations and/or tickets contact Jodie on 0468 541 296.

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