Satan’s Little Helpers from pizza company Hell has come up with a treat for an Ōtorohanga youngster who has faced a life of health challenges.
When Simon Kovacs was born, he arrived at just 28 weeks and a facing a battle.
Simon’s aunt, Toni, told Satan’s Little Helper about one-year-old to and in response Hell’s Pizza is giving the family a day out through its programme to help people going through difficulties.
Simon weighed just 947 grams at birth and spent his first five months in a Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
During that time, he had surgery to rewire his stomach at two and a half days old, and then fought off a potentially deadly infection. He left hospital with a hearing aid and was on oxygen due to having Laryngomalacia – a softening of the airways which means he can’t always get enough oxygen into his lungs.
“By the time he was ready to go to daycare, he’d decided he was going to rip the tubes out,” said mum Sally. “Luckily, they tested his oxygen levels at the hospital, and he was perfect, so they took him off.”
Simon also has low muscle tone due to being born with Down’s Syndrome.
It transpired there was a good reason for his early arrival – he had a very short umbilical cord, which was not picked up in his scans, and would very likely have ruptured if he continued to grow.
“Simon decided he was coming and that was that,” Sally said.
Simon lives with his parents, younger brother and two sisters, plus nine rescue animals – two rescue dogs, five cats and two rescue ponies.
“Simon just absolutely inspires love, he’s got an army behind him here,” said Sally.
“He really lights up when he sees his dad, Ferenc; they have a very special bond.”
Doctors feared he may never crawl or walk but has defied expectations.
“He’s crawling and he’s into everything. He’s starting to pull himself up, so it won’t be long until he’s on his feet.”
Simon’s aunt said he was an amazing little boy.
“He’s taken everything he was told he wouldn’t be able to do and thrown that back in their faces,” she says. “He’s gone from this tiny little unfinished baby to this perfect little boy, who lights up everybody’s life.”
Toni said the family had wanted to go to the Troll Caves in Waitomo for a long time, and that’s where Satan’s Little Helper would send them.
The Pizza Chain promotes its Satan’s Little Helper programme by inviting nominations for “a young Kiwi who’s going through Hell” or one who is helping others out of a “Hellish situation”.