23rd October, 2020

Mum-of-two Ellie Hobby is no stranger to little miracles.

Her first-born Vinnie was born prematurely and spent weeks in the Neonatal Unit at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SUCH) in 2019, but there was no way Ellie and her husband Dane were able to prepare for their second son’s entrance into the world.

The family from Curra, north of Gympie, had to make the 110km trip to SCUH in July when Ellie started to experience contractions.

“We were out with friends in the afternoon and I thought I was having Braxton Hicks, so I didn’t think much of the pain as these were quite common during my pregnancy,” Ellie said.

“At about 7:30pm we decided to call SCUH to ask if we should come down to get checked out. Leaving home I still didn’t believe I was in labour until we were in the car on our way when the contractions started to get very intense. I felt the urge to push 30 minutes away from the hospital so it was a very quick drive down the highway.”

Within 14 minutes of arriving at hospital, Leon was born at just 33 weeks weighing 1940 grams.

“As he was born so premature he needed to go to the Neonatal Ward straight away. We spent exactly three weeks there where Leon was on a CPAP (to help Leon’s airways), treated for jaundice and learnt to feed and grow.”

During this time the Hobby’s were able to stay at Wishlist House to ensure they were close to their newborn.

“Wishlist House was amazing. Being able to stay at Wishlist House meant that my husband Dane and my son Vinnie were all able to be together.”

In fact, Vinnie celebrated his first birthday at the six-bedroom custom-built ‘home away from home’.

“Vinnie absolutely loved the kids playroom downstairs. It was a nice and close to the hospital to walk and I always felt it was a safe area. In what was a very long drawn-out three weeks it made it so much easier not having to travel back home and it meant that we could all still be together at night.

“I was still able to be there for my one-year-old with putting him to bed and then I could go back to the hospital and be with my newborn to feed him.”

Ellie said Leon has now been discharged from hospital and is thriving at home in Curra.

Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said the house – built by Ausmar Homes and more than 120 local businesses – has welcomed more than 43 families since opening in May this year.

“This beautiful new home is available for patients, families and carers who need to stay close to SCUH while undergoing treatment, surgery or emergency stays,” Ms Rowe said.

Guests may also be eligible for a travel subsidy if they live further than 50km of the patient’s closest public hospital or public health facility.

Wishlist is the Sunshine Coast and Gympie’s hospital foundation which funds vital medical equipment, services to support patients and families, emergency accommodation and innovative local research projects.

Donations to Wishlist go directly to the cause as Wishlist’s operational expenses are covered by commercial enterprise, such as the Nambour Hospital carpark.