In May 1996, Susan Gunderson, wife and mother of two young children suffered a major brain haemorrhage in the kitchen of her family home. This left her a spastic quadriplegic and unable to speak. She was only thirty-five and her oldest child, Harry, was then four.
The doctors on duty the night that Susan was struck down did not expect her to live and she did in fact stop breathing three times and had to be revived.
Doctors removed her from life support after her condition worsened and the family gathered around her bed to say goodbye, but unexpectedly she began breathing unaided. The doctors then declared her to be technically brain dead, but Susan was determined to live.
In August, her husband Steven was advised to put her in a nursing home as nothing more could be done. Believing this would only shatter their family life even further, he gave up his job, opting to care for his wife in their own home with the help of carers and volunteers.
Susan is able to communicate through an electronic voice synthesiser and has lost none of her cognitive faculties.
In April 2003, several girls in Susan's daughter's Grade Four class began reciting the rosary in their morning tea break, praying for a miracle to happen.
According to Steven, since people began praying for Susan she has made more progress in two months than before. A campaign is now underway to send her, Steven and a carer to Lourdes to seek a miracle.
Essentially, the whole amount for the trip needs to be raised and much depends on people's generosity. The trip must take place this September before the cold weather sets in at Lourdes when it will be too late for Susan to be immersed in the water. Any help to send Susan Gunderson to Lourdes and restore a wife and mother to her family would be greatly appreciated.
Any donations can be sent to the "Susan Gunderson Appeal": c/o Dr S. King, 15 Garden Street, Greenslopes, 4120, tel (07) 3342-0777, fax (07) 3342-0735.