Michael and Lauren’s story

A family's devastation, strength and undying love

“Thank you to the incredible individuals who have supported Youngcare, without you, my husband Michael would still be living in aged care,” Lauren Bellert

Michael met Lauren when she was 17. They both worked at Target and he used to pretend to drop things off in her section so he could talk to her.

Lauren was immediately drawn to his outgoing, fun-loving nature. Whilst early on the couple knew they would one day be married, there was no way they could predict the challenges which lay ahead.

The idea of starting a family together meant everything to Michael and Lauren, however when Lauren was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease they were unsure whether this dream would ever be realised. But after 10 years together they were overjoyed when they fell pregnant with twins.

In December 2012, when Lauren was three months pregnant, the couple were getting ready for a holiday. Lauren was excitedly packing their suitcase, asking him what he wanted to take, when all of a sudden he asked, “Why are you packing?” Confused, Lauren told him they were going on holiday because she was pregnant. Michael looked shocked and replied “You’re pregnant?!!”

Alarm bells went off immediately for Lauren; she called her mum and rushed Michael to Accident and Emergency. It was there doctors delivered the news that would change their lives forever. Michael had suffered a severe brain aneurysm, leaving him unable to walk or talk and in need of 24/7 care.

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After four months in hospital Michael and Lauren were given more devastating news; the doctors said chances of rehabilitation were unlikely and Michael would have to be transferred to aged care.

Although he could no longer talk and at this stage was unresponsive, Lauren knew her extroverted, funny husband, who had a passion for travel, culture and street art, was still there!

With no suitable accommodation available, Michael had no choice but to move into aged care, which was a far stretch from their warm family home. She refused to give up hope of an alternative to aged care; an alternative which would allow them to live as a family.

Youngcare provided a Home Soon Grant, giving Michael the freedom to move into supported accommodation and live a young life. Since receiving the grant, Michael is able to be visited by his wife and daughters daily. Home Soon Grants are proudly supported by Suncorp Insurance.

Lauren says she tells him funny anecdotes about what the girls have done and he communicates with his eyes and his facial expressions….and he laughs! She believes seeing them every day gives him motivation to keep working on his rehabilitation.