The family and friends of the late Brendan Tresckitta have paid heartfelt tribute to a much-loved 19 year-old, now at peace after bravely battling an extremely rare neurodegenerative condition.
Brendan died on November 1, with news of his passing conveyed by his father Joe, on behalf of his wife Irene and twin sons Daniel and Matthew.
“It is with broken and heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our much loved, beautiful son and brother Brendan,” Joe wrote in a facebook post.
“He fought his condition with strength and courage to the very end. Against all odds his determination shone through and will remain an inspiration to us all. His infectious character and cheeky smile touched all that came in contact with him and will remain in our hearts always and forever.”
By rights, Brendan would now be completing his Year 12 examinations, having followed in his older brothers’ footsteps to Parade College, and joined the Bundoora Campus as a Year 7 student in 2013.
It was at about this time that Brendan’s battle with what was later identified as SMA-PME began. As Joe explained in an earlier interview, his son first experienced an issue with his hearing ("which we now know was caused by the same condition".).
“That problem was manageable for a time, and when Brendan pursued his studies as a Year 7 student in 2013 his teachers backed him all the way. But then other issues began to manifest themselves and Brendan was diagnosed with epilepsy,” Joe said.
“Usually epilepsy can be kept under control with medications, but in Brendan’s case it was caused by the underlying condition (SMA-PME). At the time the doctors completed a lot of tests – blood tests, skin biopsies and the like - and Brendan was off for a month. But the results all came back negative and the doctors were left baffled."
By mid-2013, Brendan’s hearing was on the decline, prompting Joe and Irene to withdraw their son from Parade and find a placement for him at St. Mary’s College for the Deaf within Marymede Catholic College at nearby South Morang. The College’s special school for the hearing impaired was good for Brendan. He enjoyed the school environment and specialized assistance he received and continues to receive.
“Brendan was an active child too, He was a good cross-country runner, a basketballer and a soccer player, but then he started falling and dropping things and finally had to resort to using a wheelchair,” Joe said.
“From there Brendan’s condition deteriorated and he started experiencing full Tonic Clonic seizures. He was finally diagnosed with SMA-PME in mid-2016 and is the only person in Australia known to be afflicted with this condition.”
As the Tresckitta family desperately sought a medical breakthrough for their boy, a fundraising event was organised at Tullamarine’s Melrose Receptions back in April, proceeds of which were put aside for Brendan’s on-going treatment.
That fundraiser, at which Brendan himself somehow found the strength to attend, attracted hundreds of people all of whom gave what they could for his cause – amongst them the singer/songwriter and Old Paradian David Cosma (1992) and members of his five-piece band Sun Rising who belted out the songs that made Memphis.
That Brendan is now gone at just 19 years of age is truly tragic . . . but maybe, just maybe he’s found his own rising sun. As Joe wrote: “You have now earned your wings and are free to fly and soar to wherever your heart desires”.
Funeral Mass for Brendan James Tresckitta will be offered at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 290 Childs Road, Mill Park on Friday November 9, 2018, commencing at 11.00am. The funeral will leave at the conclusion of Mass for burial at Yan Yean Cemetery, 2265 Plenty Road, Whittlesea.
Rosary will be recited in the Abbey Funerals Orlando s Chapel, 238 Settlement Road, Thomastown on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 7.30pm.
In honour of Brendan in celebrating his life the family has requested you wear a splash of colour on the day.