On May 21, Sunshine Coast youngster Zara Schleusener celebrated her final chemotherapy treatment, marking the end of her two-year battle with leukaemia.
The six-year-old from Nambour was born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect which led to open-heart surgery at just 14 weeks old.
Two years later Zara’s family received the shocking news that their bubbly toddler had a form of blood cancer.
“We got the cancer news just days before her fourth birthday,” said Zara’s mother Shannon Schleusener.
“She’s been through some tough times but has breezed through others – she’s taken treatment like a champ. We couldn’t be prouder of our girl.”
Zara and her sister Annika, 2, were recently visited by the Wishlist-funded Clown Doctor service at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
“They loved the Clown Doctors and didn’t want them to leave,” Mrs Schleusener said.
This year, 92.7 Mix FM’s Give Me 5 For Kids will raise funds to continue the local Clown Doctor service, and purchase two paediatric ventilators for use in emergency departments at Nambour Hospital and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital – worth $82,000.
The month-long campaign comprising of multiple events, socials, on-air auctions and a tin drive, is spearheaded by the radio station’s dedicated team who rally the community each year to help create a world-class public health care for paediatric patients.
Sunshine Coast Paediatric Emergency Clinical Nurse Consultant Rebecca Halsall said the paediatric ventilators would enhance the emergency departments and potentially save the lives of critically-ill infants.
“It was only a few weeks ago that we had a young child less than three months old presenting with an illness affecting their breathing,” Ms Halsall said.
“The child had arrived in the night time and seemed to be holding their own – as young children seem to do – but unfortunately this child deteriorated and we needed to give this child help with their breathing and that involved needing ventilation.”
Currently, the only ventilator which can assist patients weighing less than 5kg is located in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Paediatric Emergency Physician Dr Scott Schofield said young patients needing ventilation would need to be ventilated by hand and transported to a hospital in Brisbane.
“Paediatric ventilators are essential for caring for our most critically-unwell and injured children,” Dr Schofield said.
“This is critical piece of equipment would help the Coast’s most vulnerable young patients.”
Ms Halsall added: “We have an amazing hospital and this piece of equipment will save lives – if you are thinking of giving to charity please support your local hospital and your local children.”
Can you help? Please donate at wishlist.org.au.