At just 14 months of age, Tiger Taylor has joined local sporting greats Alfie Langer, Raelene Boyle and Jordan Mercer as an ambassador for RUN Sunshine Coast on June 29. An initiative of the Cotton On Foundation, RUN Sunshine Coast will see thousands run, walk or roll for a fantastic local cause – growing the Child Development Service (CDS) on the Sunshine Coast.
The adorable tot from Coolum Beach doesn’t yet understand what all the fuss is about or why he is such a great ambassador for this cause. He is too young for words and does not have the capability to utter sounds due to a tracheostomy tube – but his story speaks for itself.
In the hours following Tiger’s birth he was diagnosed with pure oesophageal atresia (long gap) with tracheo-oesophageal fistula; a rare condition meaning his food pipe was not connected to his stomach but instead had connected to his wind pipe. Air was travelling down his food pipe into his tummy which was starting to bloat.
His brave mum, Kezzia, says Tiger suffered severe softening to his lower windpipe which resulted in him requiring a tracheostomy tube to breathe. The family spent an emotionally charged five months in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Royal Children’s Hospital before baby Tiger was discharged.
Since then Tiger has frequented the CDS at Nambour Hospital where a team of professionals including a dietician, speech pathologists, physiotherapist and occupational therapists work to give Kezzia the skills to teach Tiger to eat and drink. “Tiger started off with weekly feeding clinics,” Kezzia recalls. “He had lost the natural instincts to feeding due to not nursing through his mouth for the first four months of life.”
Although feeding is a natural skill most parents take for granted, the mum of two remembers nursing her second baby as being a traumatic ordeal for them both. They had left the hospital breastfeeding, but a terrible experience which resulted in Tiger having to be resuscitated left him with an aversion to drinking. “Thankfully through attending the feeding clinics we went from Tiger crying on day one in his high chair to him eating four to five meals a day just months later,” Kezzia says.
Unfortunately Tiger recently caught a cold and was admitted to hospital, resulting in his going backwards a few steps with feeding again, but Kezzia says the CDS team continue to offer a lifeline of support in what is an ongoing struggle.
“Without this service I wouldn’t have had the tools to teach Tiger to eat. It was such a different experience to my other child who was born with no abnormalities. Without this support how is someone like me with no medical background to understand how to rehabilitate?”
Tiger also spent the first five months of life on his back in ICU which has resulted in his development being behind, and because of his tummy peg and tracheostomy tube he has difficulty with ‘tummy time.’ “The physio and occupational therapists have helped by providing ideas and ways for him to gain core strength through other activities and exercises so he can eventually sit and crawl,” Kezzia says.
“If it wasn’t for the help of the Child Development team I think I would have felt alone in the community and completely overwhelmed at how to get Tiger past these hurdles.”
The current Child Development Service exists at Nambour Hospital manned by a team of highly skilled and experienced paediatric allied health staff who are passionate about the children and families they see, but they are hampered by lack of time, space and equipment. Locally there are long waiting lists for children with behavioural or developmental concerns to be assessed by a paediatrician.
Growing the Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast will help shorten these long waiting lists as well as significantly increasing the age group of children who can be seen.
With 100% of registrations from RUN Sunshine Coast going towards growing the Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast, Wishlist is calling for every member of the community to sign up for the event.
The Cotton On Foundation will match dollar for dollar the amount raised by registrations in the first year, and as the event’s beneficiary Wishlist will direct 100% of proceeds to growing our Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast to help little ones like Tiger.
About RUN Sunshine Coast
Run Sunshine Coast is on Sunday, 29th June. You can now register for the 6km family walk, a 6km fun run and a 12km fun run. Cost is $48/per adult for the 12km Run, $28 for children, $38 for adults for the 6km run and walk, children under the age of 12 are $8 for both events.
Run, walk, roll or sign up as a virtual runner – just get involved today at www.runaustralia.com.au and help give local children the chance to develop their full potential.