|MISSION 294 - FORBES / BANKSTOWN / FORBES|
SYDNEY ANGEL FINDS HIS WAY TO FORBES TO HELP FIVE-MONTH-OLD BABY
The first Angel Flight out of Forbes transported five-month-old Travis Bond to Sydney for treatment at Westmead Children’s Hospital.
Suffering from a disorder called Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, Travis needs monthly physical therapy as well as the renewal of splints/plaster casts to prevent his joints from stiffening as they grow.
This rare condition affects 1 in 3000 babies and is characterised by the affected baby having two or more joints in more than one limb in a fixed position.
In Travis’ case, all of his limbs are affected and in addition he has no shoulder muscles.
According to his mother Lisa, there were no indications before his birth that there was anything wrong and subsequent tests have revealed that her son’s condition is not hereditary with the cause not yet identified.
“When I had an ultrasound at 28 weeks I was told my baby was very small and probably struggling to feed through the umbilical cord but nothing else was picked up,” she said.
“But then because he was in the breach position I had a Caesarean Section at 39 weeks in Orange Hospital and he was born with his wrists curled under, his shoulders and elbows were round the wrong way and one leg was stiff. Because they hadn’t seen a baby like this before when he was just four days old we were taken to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead where we stayed for two weeks whilst they carried out tests and organised a course of treatment.”
To prevent the joints from stiffening as he grows and to improve mobility, every month Lisa and Travis have to return to Westmead so that special splints and soft casts can be renewed and continuing assessment carried out.
“Travis has to wear the soft cast from his elbows to his wrists for one week a month and whilst the hospital have to put the cast on, because it is soft I am able to unravel it and take it off for him,” Lisa said.
“He’s also fitted with splints and has to wear these at night but is free to exercise during the day. I also have to do physio on him a minimum of four times a day to help improve his mobility.”
When asked how she was coping with all of this Lisa said that at first it was really hard especially when she was told the worse case scenario of what could happen to him.
“But as time went by I found he was getting better and better and am now pretty confident that he will eventually be able to lead an independent life,” she said.
“Whilst he can’t grab hold of anything yet he’s a happy baby, smiling, gurgling and talking a lot and his six-year-old brother Jayden loves him and likes to be involved in helping Travis with his exercises and understands that he has to be gentle,” Lisa said with obvious love and pride in her voice.
However, whilst Lisa and her partner John appear to have accepted their situation, doing everything they can to ensure Travis has the best possible care and attention; they have been struggling financially and physically with the regular trips to Sydney.
“When Travis was born we didn’t have a car and there was no community transport available for us,” Lisa said.
“Then my sister and some friends got together and found me a car but because it’s old there’s always something going wrong with it so it’s not very reliable. On top of that the journey to Sydney takes me at least five hours and with petrol and food etc. it costs about $200 each time and it’s money we don’t really have.”
In addition to the financial burden, the long road journey can also be physically draining on this young mother as well as her baby. Regrettably, whilst a local Disability Children’s Social Worker was anxious to help, Travis appeared not to meet the criteria for financial assistance. Fortunately the Social Worker discovered Angel Flight and soon arrangements were made for Lisa and Travis to be airlifted to and from Sydney absolutely free of charge.
“This has made a heap of difference,” Lisa said.
“It’s going to be so much easier because if the car plays up I can’t get Travis the help that he needs as there’s nobody around here who has the skills and experience with this condition because it’s quite rare. I could go by public transport but it would involve a 10-hour trip by bus and train. So it’s really wonderful the help we are getting through Angel Flight.”
This story appearing in the Forbes Advocate 24/02/05 (front page and page 4)
“A successful mission in lovely smooth conditions. We enjoyed a good comfortable run to Bankstown with some well developed cumulus over the Blue Mountains but visual at 3800” by Camden and no delays courtesy of Air Traffic Control and the Angelflight call-sign.
Little Travis slept all the way, letting Lisa enjoy the flight." John Terry
Helper comment by Sue Terry
Angel flight 2 by Keith Wheeler