Preparing for surgery is an anxious time for any parent, but mum-of-three Vicki Cunningham also had to contend with a 200km round-trip journey and two children undergoing surgery on the same day.
Thankfully, Wishlist House was able to ease the burden and the Gympie family were one of the first families to stay in the brand-new six-bedroom home within walking distance to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH).
“My two girls, Sophie, 6, and Felicity who is 13 had to undergo Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) procedures to get their adenoids and tonsils out,” Ms Cunningham said.
“Sophie has sleep apnea, she falls asleep at school and she stops breathing in her sleep, she really needed the surgery.
“My oldest was able to get her operation on the same day because she gets a lot of ear infections and tonsillitis.”
Ms Cunningham said her girls had been placed on the surgery waiting list two years ago and had to travel to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital from Gympie for the operations.
“We were told about the surgeries the week before, so it was really stressful to think about the travel and having it to be at the hospital so early. We planned to stay at Wishlist’s unit complex Reed House at Nambour and ere very lucky when they rang and said Wishlist House was open.
“I was so thankful to be so close to the hospital.
“We arrived the day before and checked in. The girls’ nanna (Vicki’s mum) came with us to help as carer and when we walked in – the house was so lovely.
“I loved the plaques on the wall and the stories about how the house came together.
“We live in an old house in Gympie so it was nice to walk into this brand new house and forget for a little bit about the surgery the next day.”
Ms Cunningham said the house would be a big drawcard for fellow Gympie residents who had to travel to SCUH for their child’s surgery or if they were seriously ill.
The family was able to book into the house for two nights prior to the surgery and a night for recovery.
“It’s quite traumatic preparing for your children to go under anaesthetic and knowing it will take a few days to recover. Unfortunately for us, my youngest put on bit of a turn and she didn’t get to have the surgery. I guess that’s what happens sometimes, so we’ll have to try again.”
Ms Cunningham, who is studying to help support those in aged care, said Wishlist House would help so many regional and remote families who have no choice but to travel long distances for healthcare.
For more information about Wishlist House – also known as The House The Coast Built – visit wishlist.org.au.