FAMILIES in the Hunter will gather tomorrow to give gifts and extend their love, but one little boy will never know the joy of spending Mother’s Day with his mum.
Oscar Oultram was seven months old when his mother Kathryn, 27, died in her sleep from a mystery illness at the family’s Waratah home.
For Oscar’s father Drew Oultram, the heartbreak of losing his gorgeous wife has been softened somewhat by the miracle boy he says is his ‘‘biggest saviour’’.
‘‘He’s been the biggest support and he doesn’t even know it,’’ Mr Oultram said. ‘‘He’s helped me and the whole family so much, just looking at his smile you know everything is going to be all right.’’
The strength Oscar, now nine months old, provides Mr Oultram, a well-known Newcastle rugby league referee, is all the more special given the fact the couple were told they would never be able to have children.
‘‘[Kathryn] was told she wouldn’t be able to carry the baby to term because the seizures came so unexpectedly,’’ he said.
‘‘They thought it would be too difficult for us to conceive let alone for her to have the baby. So in that sense we’re very lucky that we got to have Oscar.’’
Mrs Oultram first became sick in 2008 when she contracted viral encephalitis, an illness that caused her brain to swell and led to her acquiring epilepsy.
A neurologist who spoke to the family believes Mrs Oultram may have experienced sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, or what is commonly referred to as SUDEP.
There is very little known about SUDEP other than it comes with no warning, there is no cure or way to prevent it, Mr Oultram said.
His family has organised an event at the Redhead Bowling club on June 2 to raise money for him and Oscar and raise awareness for the illness.
The Oultrams have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from the NSW and Newcastle rugby league associations, NSW Rugby League Referees Association, family and friends as well as complete strangers who have heard the tragic story and wanted to help.
Anyone who wants more information, wishes to attend or donate money or prizes should consult the Facebook page: In Memory of Kathryn.