Is it just me or does everyone think Give Me 5 For Kids is not just about kids?

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Is it just me or does everyone think Give Me 5 For Kids is not just about kids?

Is it just me or does everyone think Give Me 5 For Kids is not just about kids?

This week I met tiny, bubbly Isabella Johnston.

In April, Isabella turned seven.  So far, she has had 53 operations.

Isabella’s mum Jos says they first knew something was wrong at the 18 week scan during pregnancy.  The radiographer couldn’t see Isabella’s stomach and ordered more tests.  The diagnosis was Oesophageal Atresia, Isabella was born with a pouch at the top of her oesophagus, preventing food from reaching her stomach.

Surgeons have built a new food pipe but it’s shorter than yours and mine and didn’t come with  natural function, which means food often gets caught or saliva builds up. Sometimes that requires surgery, it always means time in hospital.

In conjunction, Isabella has a metabolic disorder, which means she must eat every five hours or die.  Her mum and dad have to check her blood sugar through the night and administer slow release food, just to keep her alive while she sleeps. Any hint of a tummy bug and Isabella is back in hospital.

She is what’s called a Frequent Flyer.

And Isabella is not alone.  SCUH paediatric outpatients is full of frequent flyers.  Jos says whenever someone feels sorry for her family, she reminds them there are hundreds of kids on the coast worse off than Isabella.

Isabella goes to school and has recently started netball.  Her mum admits she is more tired than other kids but she is smart as a whip and very determined.  Jos suspects it’s because so much of Isabella’s life is out of her own control, the things she can control she is pedantic about.  And her mum and dad don’t mind a bit.

This week, Wishlist unveiled the Interactive Digital Walls at SCUH, paid for by Mix FM’s Give ME 5 For Kids.  Jos was over the moon.  While she is grateful for the TV, activity packs and electronic devices, also paid for by GM5, she says sometimes hospital feels like a prison.

In the afternoon, out the hospital window Jos can see families leaving school and work, heading to sport or home for dinner.  She says no one knows what it is like for the families who can’t leave.

The hospital is magnificent, the care is second to none and Jos is grateful for every day with her little girl, even the frequent flyer days.  But it’s a fair point, everyone else is just getting on with their lives.

I like to think that for the month of June, the Sunshine Coast shows families of sick kids that we do think about them.  We are grateful for our healthy offspring and marvel at parents who must fight every day just to keep their children alive. And with luck, we’ll throw a few dollars their way.

Caroline xx

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