The gift of life-chang­ing sup­port

Af­ter Cob­ber suf­fered sev­eral seizures and a bleed on the brain, his fam­ily pre­pared them­selves for the long road to re­cov­ery

New Idea - - New Destiny -

When Te­gan and Daniel Parker made the move to the re­mote town of Ku­nunurra near the Kim­berly Re­gion in Western Aus­tralia, the ex­pec­tant cou­ple had no idea their change of scenery was about to place them thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away from the life­sav­ing treat­ment their un­born child would soon des­per­ately need. Al­though Te­gan had ex­pe­ri­enced a straight­for­ward preg­nancy with­out com­pli­ca­tions, the cou­ple’s world was turned up­side down when their first­born son, Cob­ber, was born with a range of de­for­mi­ties and a num­ber of emerg­ing health is­sues. “Within min­utes of me giv­ing birth he stopped breath­ing and was hav­ing seizures as well as a bleed on the brain,” ex­plains Te­gan. “We were flown out of Ku­nunurra to sta­bilise him and fig­ure out what was wrong.”

For the new fam­ily of three this in­volved their first, but cer­tainly not their last, ex­tended hospi­tal stay. “We found out Cob­ber has Arthro­gry­po­sis, which is a con­gen­i­tal joint dis­or­der,” Te­gan ex­plains. “He also has an un­di­ag­nosed syn­drome and other un­der­ly­ing is­sues.” Te­gan and her fam­ily were im­me­di­ately pre­sented with the op­por­tu­nity to re­side at Ron­ald Mcdon­ald House for the du­ra­tion of Cob­ber’s hospi­tal vis­its, as well as his fol­low-up tests and treat­ment. “Ron­ald Mcdon­ald House has been an ab­so­lute saviour – they’re the rea­son we’re still to­gether” says Te­gan. “With­out them the stress on our fam­ily would have been as­tro­nom­i­cal.” Cob­ber, now four years old, still reg­u­larly re­quires lengthy hospi­tal vis­its. Th­ese see him flown to Syd­ney or Perth for treat­ment with mum Te­gan, who is cur­rently preg­nant with baby num­ber three, and his younger brother Munro. Hus­band Daniel re­mains at home as he had to re­turn to work. “Ron­ald Mcdon­ald House made it pos­si­ble for us to not have to leave our jobs and move to the city,” says Te­gan tear­fully. “Cob­ber wouldn’t be able to see his spe­cial­ist in West­mead if it wasn’t for them… the life­sav­ing treat­ment he’s had is mas­sive.” Cob­ber’s cur­rent spe­cial­ist is the only doc­tor in Aus­tralia who specif­i­cally works with Cob­ber’s type of con­di­tion. Al­though Te­gan and Cob­ber are of­ten away from home for six months of the year, Te­gan treats their ex­pe­ri­ences as a com­pletely nor­mal part of ev­ery­day life. “The house is our home away from home. The vol­un­teers have grown to be like fam­ily be­cause they’re so sup­port­ive and Cob­ber ab­so­lutely adores them,” she adds. “We never feel like we’re miss­ing out on fam­ily be­cause Ron­ald Mcdon­ald House is our fam­ily.”

While Cob­ber is set to spend his next birth­day at the house, he’s not let­ting his nu­mer­ous ap­point­ments or surg­eries get him down. “He’s the kid who goes with the flow and views our time at the house as a hol­i­day,” ex­claims Te­gan. “He’s al­ways look­ing for­ward to go­ing back and loves the school pro­grams as well as the book bud­dies pro­gram and movie nights. He’s in his el­e­ment when we’re there… he’s spoilt with love.”

Ron­ald Mcdon­ald House is our home away from home. The vol­un­teers have grown to be like fam­ily be­cause they’re so sup­port­ive and Cob­ber ab­so­lutely adores them – Te­gan Parker

FROM TOP: Munro and Cob­ber; left: Te­gan and Daniel with their boys; right: Cob­ber catches up on his read­ing; a broth­erly bond

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