Jun 28, 2012 9:00 PM
TUCSON - We are more than halfway through our Kristi's Kids, News4 Tucson Lifesaver season and Pima County has recorded six child near drownings while one child has died in a water related accident.
For the kids who survive, recovery is hard and expensive.
Kristi's Kids told you about Ethan Bennett when we launched this year's campaign in April.
Ethan almost drowned at a day camp three summers ago. His life was changed forever
"Ethan's eyes were rolled up into his head. He didn't cry. He didn't laugh. He didn't."
Soon after the accident Ethan's mom, Rose Bennett, learned about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). Initially Rose didn't understand how the treatment worked.
"I was probably the most skeptical person."
But she gave hyperbarics a try.
"About half way through we started seeing instant results. And by the end of the 40 sessions he was like night and day," she explains.
In a pressurized chamber, Ethan breathes pure oxygen for an hour during each session.
"Because we know that oxygen is necessary for all healing in your body," says Dr. Carol Henricks, a neurologist with Northstar Hyperbarics.
"A brain cell that is injured, but is not dead, can re-wire, re-network and to a certain extent recover."
For example, Ethan recently started vocalizing more.
"You can hear him start to say, ‘OK' and ‘yeah' and ‘Momma'. So those things are starting to come back."
But hyperbaric treatment is expensive and not covered by insurance. Ethan had to go without treatments for about 2-years.
Then in April, many of you following Kristi's Kids, sent donations his way so he can start treatments again.
"Since we started the Kristi's Kids Lifesaver Campaign, we've had some private donations through his website and through the purchase of his bracelets,"
Ethan's mom explains.
"I'm not able to provide this for my son and you guys just," she says holding back tears. "Just the donations that have come in from his websites through the Ethan Buddies websites, it's just been overwhelming and I just want to say thank you."
Click here for the Ethan's Buddies website if you would like to help.