Centre embraces pyjama Wednesdays

Andrew and Shanie Duhau with Nate, 4, Aston, 2, and Knox, four-and-half-months. (Damjan Janevski) 241454_01

By Oliver Lees

Staff and children at Gumboots Early Learning Centre have decked themselves out in their pyjamas this month to raise awareness for a congenital disease most commonly found in children.

Gumboots Early Learning Centre staff member Shanie Duhau’s son, Knox, was diagnosed with congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV) eight days after he was born.

If a woman is newly infected with cytomegalovirus – a common virus in the herpesvirus family – while pregnant, there is a risk that her unborn baby will also become infected with cCMV.

Although cytomegalovirus is common, cCMV infects only six in 1000 babies in Australia and in severe instances can cause disability or death.

In Knox’s case, the full impact of his diagnosis is still unknown, but at this stage the virus has resulted in bilateral hearing loss.

Gumboots Early Learning Centre educational leader Corinne Brown said her colleagues and the centre’s children have worn pyjamas each Wednesday this month as part of the ‘Jamas in June’ cCMV awareness campaign.

“One of our lovely educators has two kids who go here, after she gave birth to her third child she shared the news of the diagnosis with us,” Ms Brown said.

“It’s really important to raise awareness about cCMV, because many people don’t have any idea about it, even many of the staff here had never heard about it.

“We want to make [the Duhau family] feel comfortable and at ease and raise some funds at the same time.”

Ms Brown said businesses in Sunbury had also participated by wearing pyjamas in their stores.

According to CMV Australia, the risk of exposure to the virus can be reduced and recommends that mothers pay particular attention to their hygiene when handling their children.

To view the fundraiser, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/vjzg6-stop-cmv-in-honour-of-knox