Australian parents of children living with life-threatening or chronic illnesses are under immense pressure to meet their healthcare needs and to ensure they obtain appropriate medical attention.
For those living in rural and outback communities, this strain can often be exacerbated by the need to travel long-distances, on a regular basis, to access treatment. This travel represents an extra expense, and often involves one parent accompanying the child, leaving the remainder of the family at home.
Travelling long distances to access required specialised treatments and medical assistance for their children is unfortunately, a reality for many Australians living in outlying communities.
A new Aussie charity, Little Wings, is helping to assist the families of children battling chronic conditions combat the tyranny of distance, by providing free, ongoing flights to children and their families residing in regional and rural New South Wales. Little Wings transports the parents and their sick children to and from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, and the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, to access much-needed, specialised treatments.
Founded by Kevin Robinson in September, 2012, Little Wings has facilitated 225 flights in 2014, and aims to coordinate 300 flights in 2015.
The father-of-four has held a private pilot’s licence since the age of 16, and has run his own management consultancy business for the past 15 years.
In 2011, he met Bridget McGinley, a Rural Outreach Clinical Nurse Consultant, Oncology at The Children’s Hospital in Westmead, who outlined the pressing need for families of children living with life-threatening illnesses in regional and rural areas of NSW, to access specialised Sydney-based treatments.
Recognising this need, and with the means to provide a service to assist these families, Kevin launched the Little Wings charity.
In a recent interview with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Mick Knowles, a Port Macquarie-based father to a little boy living with the life-threatening Hunter Syndrome and a quadriplegic daughter, said the charity had dramatically improved his family’s life.
“There were days [before Little Wings] when we would be on the road from 5:30am.
“I would try to get home for work as a chef at night, but there were a few times when I had to call in and say, I’m just not going to make it back in time,” Mick said.
“Being taken care of by Little Wings has just changed our lives dramatically.”
To learn more about Little Wings, or to lend your support to the charity, head to www.littlewings.org.au