When 13-month-old Jackson Pardon started to show signs of lethargy in early August, his parents had little idea of the life changing battle that lay ahead.

The Wyreema family had been recovering from the flu when mum Kelsey Pardon noticed a change in Jackson's behaviour.

"He had been holding his arm like it hurt, so we took him to the doctor and they sent us straight to emergency room because he was dehydrated," Mrs Pardon said.

"We were then sent home because he was eating and drinking, so they thought he was fine.

"But the next day, at kindergarten, he was very lethargic and wasn't moving and by that afternoon he had blue lips."

Mrs Pardon rushed Jackson back to Toowoomba Hospital, where the situation took a "horrible" turn.

Jackson Pardon developed a purple rash, linked to sepsis.
Jackson Pardon developed a purple rash, linked to sepsis.

Within hours of being placed on oxygen, Jackson started to develop a purple rash.

"I was terrified, I had no idea what was going on," Mrs Pardon said.

"It came on so quickly and I'm just glad we weren't at home."

A LifeFlight Rescue helicopter was tasked and flew Jackson and Mrs Pardon to the Queensland Children's Hospital at 2am.

Her husband Adam rushed to Brisbane the following day as Jackson was diagnosed with deadly blood infection sepsis, caused by group A streptococcus, and osteomyelitis in his left shoulder.

He was sedated for a couple of days as doctors worked to reverse the infection.

"At the beginning, they said he may not make it, then they said he may just lose his left arm," Mrs Pardon said.

"Thanks to the fantastic work of the staff, they managed to save his arm, he is only going to lose four finger tips on his left hand.

"The first time he realised he could move his hands, he lit up."

Kelsey Pardon captured the moment her son Jackson reached out his arms and smiled after weeks of treatment for sepsis.
Kelsey Pardon captured the moment her son Jackson reached out his arms and smiled after weeks of treatment for sepsis.

After seven and a half weeks in hospital Jackson returned home with his family.

His recovery was aided in part by the Children's Hospital Foundation and Mrs Pardon is now hoping to give back.

"I'm passionate about supporting them - the hospital and its foundation helped save his life," she said.

The Pardon family is now encouraging others to donate to the 2020 Nine Telethon on November 14, where proceeds go to the Children's Hospital Foundation.

Children's Hospital Foundation Chief Executive Officer Rosie Simpson said money raised through the Telethon would fund vital medical research, lifesaving medical equipment and patient and family-support services at the Queensland Children's Hospital for sick kids.

"Every single donation, no matter the size, helps us work wonders for sick kids just like (Jackson)," Ms Simpson said.

"It's never easy having a seriously ill or injured child, and that can sometimes be made harder for those living in regional areas, who have to travel long distances for treatment and medical appointments.

"Telethon gives us the opportunity to help families get back on their feet through the funding of groundbreaking research, state-of-the-art equipment, and patient and family support at Queensland Children's Hospital."

To donate to the Nine Telethon, visit 9telethon.com.au or call 1800 909 900.

Tune in to the Nine Telethon at 3pm on November 14 for more inspiring stories like Jackson's.


Originally published as Baby exhibited common symptom before 'terrifying' blood infection