Meet Violet, a beautiful baby girl with big eyes and an easy smile. Violet was only five days old when she had surgery to fix a hole below her diaphragm that allowed her intestines, stomach, bowel and liver to push up into her lungs. Then, just when her parents were getting ready to take her home after six weeks in hospital, the hole reopened and she had to go through surgery all over again.
After 12 weeks of hospitalisation, the young family were allowed to go home, but only six weeks later at a routine check-up discovered the rupture had reoccurred, and heartbreakingly they once again traded home for the hospital. Violet has only just come home again. The feeding tube she wears gives her the sustenance to live, but not the skills to learn to eat. She now relies on the team at the Child Development Service (CDS) at Nambour Hospital to teach her how to feed herself for life.
Then there’s Kai, a little boy born with a flat head who needs to wear a cranium helmet to help his skull pop back out. Due to his condition, Kai is six months behind other kids his age developmentally and needs the services of the CDS if he is to have any chance of learning, fitting it and thriving when he starts school.
Quinn looks like a porcelain doll with her fine features, enormous eyes and rosy cheeks, but Quinn is much stronger than she looks. Born with a complex cardiac condition, Quinn spent the first five months of her life in hospital after open heart surgery. As a result, she is about five months developmentally behind, and if not for the help of the CDS, Quinn would likely not have spoken until she was three years old.
Levi, a 27-month-old boy with blond curls that would be the envy of every surfer, was born at 25 weeks (15 weeks early). Weighing only 940g, Levi endured chronic lung disease, bowel surgeries and big developmental hurdles, but he is a survivor. Thanks to the Levi’s weekly ‘play’ therapy sessions with the CDS, Levi is catching up to his peers developmentally so he will have the same chance to grow.
Those who have not been through the despair of having a seriously ill child are truly lucky. There are hundreds of other stories, true, unembellished stories of families just like these.
All these beautiful children and their parents have one thing in common. They could be your family. These could be your children. All are local Sunshine Coast families, your neighbours, friends, the schoolmates your children or grandchildren will go to school with.
They have not had the easiest start to life, but together, each and every one of us can have a powerful, lasting impact on their future.
Run Sunshine Coast is on THIS Sunday, June 29. Just one morning, two hours, and it will all be over. But what we can achieve together, as a community, in those power-packed 120 minutes can create a massive tidal wave of opportunity for these little ones and their families who otherwise may not be able to access the help they need for the best chance to shine for life.
Absolutely 100% of registration fees goes to Wishlist to significantly grow the Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast so all children can access it. THIS YEAR ONLY, the Cotton On foundation will match dollar for dollar all registrations, DOUBLING what is raised.
We need you! Sign up now at runaustralia.com.au and be part of something amazing.