In an emotional interview, the sports presenter talks about the devastating health struggle of the young daughter
Sports presenter Hamish McLachlan has failed when he recalls his little girl’s struggle for life with a rare brain disease and his desperate plea for doctors to save her.
The announcer was the headliner of Channel Seven’s 2013 Australian Open tennis coverage when he and his wife Sophie received the devastating news that their wonder girl Milla had West syndrome.
As a host of AFLs recently “The last time I cried” Podcast series, The Tables Turned On McLachlan for the Final Episode in a heartbreaking interview that left both him and guest interviewer, former Sydney Swans star Alex Johnson, in tears as he relived every parent’s worst nightmare.
McLachlan still remembers the night in January 2013 when he called back his delirious wife after countless missed calls from her while he was live on the air with tennis coverage.
Milla was Hamish and Sophie McLachlan’s wonder baby born by IVF. Milla was pictured before she was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening brain disease
“She said there’s something wrong with Milla. She’s kind of having these little cramps and I can’t get her attention for hours, something is really wrong, “McLachlan recalled.
They went to the pediatrician, whose face turned white when she saw images of the trembling of eight-month-old Milla and ordered the McLachlans to go immediately to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
Two hours later in the hospital waiting room, they still had no idea what was wrong with Milla, whose little head had 37 electrodes.
The neurologist came in with the diagnosis that would turn their world upside down.
“He looks at me and says,” I’m Jeremy Freeman, your daughter has West syndrome. There is a 10 percent chance of her dying in the hospital. There is an 80 percent chance that she will suffer brain damage for life. There’s a 10 percent chance she’ll get through it unharmed, ” McLachlan recalled.
“He said,” It’s a very rare disease, one in every 2,500 children will have it. Two-thirds of the cases are brain cancer, it’s a brain tumor, it’s a brain injury. A third of the cases are not, but it is the same result. She will either die, have brain damage for life or she will be lucky. ”
“I picked up Milla. I said, “This is Milla Freeman, save her.” ‘
Hamish McLachlan broke down when he remembered his baby girl’s struggle for life seven years ago
Milla was the miracle baby of the McLachlan who was conceived during the couple’s third attempt to have a child through IVF.
They weren’t sure if Sophie could get pregnant naturally after being involved in a serious car accident before meeting her husband.
“And so, as a sort of naive parent, you think it’s all done, nothing can happen to take her away from us,” said McLachlan.
More destructive news would come.
As part of her grueling treatment, Milla had to be given steroids four times a day, so powerful they are not given to animals.
Her parents had been warned that the first time Milla would react so badly that she would no longer open her mouth and scream so loudly that she would lose her voice within 24 hours.
The McLachlans were told that their baby’s seizures would stop after six days or that they would continue.
Baby Milla was fitted with 37 electrodes as doctors tried to find out what was wrong
The harrowing days that followed would even break McLachlan’s brother, Gil, who is now the AFL director.
“On the fourth day, Gillon did at 7 a.m. every day because he would do it on his way to work,” his brother Hamish recalled.
“And I remember him, I gave him Milla and went to the kitchen, took the steroid out, put it in the syringe, and by the time I got to Gill, she had seizures in his arms.
“He was crying and said, ‘How can it happen to someone who doesn’t deserve it?'”
Fortunately, Milla’s attacks eventually stopped and her brain patterns returned to normal on her three-month scan.
At her six-month scan, Dr. Freeman 15-month-old Milla as a miracle – and one in 10 percent who recovered without further complications.
Hamish and Sophie McLachlan went through two unsuccessful rounds of IVF before Milla was conceived on the third attempt
“He said,” “I just did some cognitive tests that three-year-old children fail,” said McLachlan.
“She’s been through it … She’s the best reaction I’ve ever had to this disease.”
“Then I started crying and really crying. You just don’t know when life is going to change, when an apparently perfect word becomes imperfect, and when it becomes perfect again. ‘
Today, Milla is a happy and healthy eight-year-old who has a younger sister Indi and brother Lex.
“Every time I put her to bed, I think how good you are here. That was the last time I cried, “McLachlan said.
Milla (right), pictured with her parents and sister Indi in 2016, is one of the lucky ones