Every time she falls asleep, little Sophie stops breathing.
When she was six days old, Sophie was transported from Ballarat Base Hospital to the neonatal intensive care unit at Monash Children's Hospital.
While they did not yet have a diagnosis, when baby Sophie was discharged from the hospital a machine was sent home with her to help her breathe.
"It was working to keep her oxygen levels up and her CO2 levels down," her mum, Amanda Stewart, told The Courier.
About a week after being discharged, with Sophie then three and a half months old, she was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic disease called congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS).
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There are only about 1300 cases diagnosed worldwide and in Sophie's case, she stops breathing when she falls asleep.
So every time the two-year-old settles down for a nap or is tucked into bed at night, her parents hook her up to a type of ventilator machine. Specifically, a bilevel positive airway pressure (Bipap) machine.
The machine is vital for Sophie, so her parents were shocked to discover it had been stolen.
Ms Stewart said the machine had been packed into the boot of the family car - parked in their Alfredton driveway - on Friday, in preparation for running errands on Saturday.
"We thought nothing of it - it was in our locked car in our driveway in a plain, grey bag."
The family did not notice the theft immediately, until they jumped into the car and saw a light flashing saying the boot was open the next morning.
Ms Stewart and her husband, who moved their family to Ballarat less than two months ago, were "absolutely devastated and scared" when they saw the ventilator was missing.
Fortunately the family is "so fortunate to have a back-up machine" in case of emergencies.
"We live in country Victoria, so far from her hospital, so we have the back-up machine in case anything goes wrong," Ms Stewart explained. "It is a lifeline for her until we can get her to the proper help she needs if something were to happen."
With four children at home and a statewide lockdown, worrying about the stolen machine was an extra stress the family did not need.
Ms Stewart was stressed about everything from her daughter's health to how to pay for the expensive machine they had loaned from the hospital.
So she took to Facebook pleading with whoever took the bag - with machine, wall plugs, and giraffe print mask and hose inside - to return it.
After being shared far and wide and disgust expressed by many in the community that someone would stoop so low as to steal medical equipment, the machine was found returned on the family's letterbox around 6am on Monday morning.
Ms Stewart said it "restored her faith in humanity".
"We were just shaking. We were so unbelievably grateful. It sucks that our daughter's medical equipment was taken in the first place, but we are just so grateful it was brought back."
She credited social media for helping raising awareness of her family's plight and for the quick return of the machine.
"I love how the community came together for us and rallied behind a little girl and her equipment. It was really, really heartwarming."
The incident hasn't soured her family's view of Ballarat either.
"We still love Ballarat. It's still a beautiful area. We are just glad this has finished."
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