Community rallies around boy recovering from near drowning

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WEST CHESTER, Ohio (WDTN) – A three-year-old boy in Miamisburg is making strides after he nearly drowned last summer.

The treatment that has brought him out of a vegetative state isn’t covered by the family’s insurance, but community members have raised thousands of dollars to make it possible.

Jessica Knight said her son Liam Lambert has shown several signs of progress.

“He lifts his head up,” she said. “He’ll look at you. He turns his head. He gets aggravated.”

Knight said it has been long few months of recovery.

“The nine days that we were in Florida, we were given no hope that he was going to wake up and get better at all,” she said.

Liam was a typical toddler up until an accident last summer, Knight said. While the family was on vacation in Florida, Liam was playing outside their rental home with other kids when he fell in the pool after likely being left alone, she said.

“It was the worst feeling I had ever felt before in my entire life,” Knight said. “It was a nightmare.”

After doctors told her Liam may never come out of a vegetative state, Knight said, she began to research treatment options and came across a hyperbaric oxygen therapy center in West Chester.

For each treatment, Liam and his mom go inside a chamber where Liam breathes 100 percent oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure as if he is 25 feet underwater, according to Dr. Theodore Cole of Cincinnati Hyperbarics.

“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps heal damage,” Dr. Cole said. “So any kind of damage in any organ from any cause, it can help heal that.”

Dr. Cole said he has treated patients with brain injuries, cancer and autism, among other conditions. He said it’s hard to tell what’s possible for Liam, but over the past few months, his motor skills have improved, and he’s responding to commands.

“As time goes on, I would expect to continue to see improvement in not only that, but also motor function and other areas of brain function – cognition, memory, awareness,” he explained.

Knight said the treatment isn’t covered by her insurance, but online fundraising and community events have raised more than $12,000, which has paid for the first two rounds of treatment. Now, she’s trying to raise the money for a third round.

“I didn’t want to lose that hope and faith that I ended up having of hearing about this,” Knight said. “I just knew in my heart that it was going to work.”

Knight said she encourages parents to get their kids swim lessons as young as possible and always have them wear life jackets at the pool.

The next benefit for Liam is March 3 at Mack’s Tavern in Centerville. For more information, click here.

To donate to the family’s fundraiser for medical expenses, click here.

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