Roki Mills of Newport, Australia celebrated his first birthday at home this week after spending the last month in the hospital. Roki and his parents are planning to travel to Panama for cord blood stem cell therapy in the next few months, but are asking for financial support from their community to help pay for the trip as well as the therapy.

When Roki was born, he was diagnosed with brain damage and cerebral palsy that doctors say was due to a lack of oxygen during the birth. Ina and Dave Mills, Roki’s parents arranged for stem cell therapy in India a few months after his birth, and received thousands of dollars from friends in their community to make the therapy a possibility.

After Roki received the stem cell transplant, his condition improved temporarily. But his immune system suffered a setback after doctors back in Australia confirmed he caught a bug called pseudomonas, which can cause the body to go through serious periods of pneumonia.

Roki was admitted into a hospital near home for a month, and doctors saw a strong enough improvement that allowed Roki to spend his birthday with his family. Ina Mills says the family will make their next plans to help Roki after his birthday.

“We are determined to keep going and hopefully by his next birthday, Roki will be much better.”

The family has booked an appointment with the Stem Cell Institute research centre in Panama where Roki is expected to undergo a week of therapy that includes a cord blood stem cell transplant. The family will then travel to the US where Roki will spend several weeks undergoing physical rehabilitation to regain some motor skills.

More details about Roki’s story are available by following the link here.