Lau­ren’s spe­cial vis­i­tor

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

LAU­REN Mul­lane hasn’t known any­thing dif­fer­ent, af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with Myas­the­nia gravis (MG) when she was only 2½ years old.

The rare dis­ease, which af­fects mus­cle con­trol, slows – but cer­tainly doesn’t stop – the bright six year old, who humbly de­scribes her con­di­tion as “a lit­tle bit an­noy­ing”.

The re­al­i­ties of the neu­ro­mus­cu­lar dis­ease are that Lau­ren can just run out of puff, and she’s stuck with a whole lot of med­i­ca­tion and vis­its to hos­pi­tals – some­thing that would be a lot for any­one, let alone a six year old.

Her mum, Erin Mul­lane of Port Dou­glas, said as­pects of the con­di­tion frus­trated her daugh­ter such as her height, which is less than nor­mal be­cause of her med­i­ca­tion, fa­tigue that can throw any day way off track, and that some­times she can’t keep up with other chil­dren in the school­yard. She’s still an en­er­getic lit­tle girl though. “She is not de­fined by the chronic dis­ease that she has. She’s learned to live with it.”

Liv­ing with MG means daily med­i­ca­tion, monthly in­fu­sions at the Cairns Hospi­tal and vis­its to Mel­bourne ev­ery three to six months to visit Dr An­drew Korn­berg at the Royal Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal.

Ms Mul­lane said when Lau­ren was di­ag­nosed, where she got treat­ment didn’t mat­ter, “she needed the best”.

Dr Korn­berg, a pae­di­atric neu­rol­o­gist, has been treat­ing Lau­ren for 2½ years.

Lau­ren said vis­it­ing Dr Korn­berg made her happy be­cause “he gives us lots of in­for­ma­tion about how I’m go­ing”.

This month, Dr Korn­berg has been fly­ing solo around Aus­tralia on a jour­ney to raise money for the Royal Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal.

He’ll spend March vis­it­ing 38 places around Aus­tralia, and nine pa­tients.

Lau­ren is lucky to be one of the pa­tients that gets a visit from him in­stead of the other way around – her teacher at St. Au­gus­tine’s, Gayle Dun­can has been track­ing his progress via the fly­forthekids.org web­site as a class ac­tiv­ity each morn­ing.

Next Tues­day he’ll be stop­ping by St Au­gus­tine’s where he’ll speak to the en­tire school (and of course Lau­ren) and then over­see a pa­per plane com­pe­ti­tion by stu­dents.

The school com­mu­nity will be pre­sent­ing Dr Korn­berg a cheque to go to­wards the Royal Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal Good Fri­day Ap­peal.

Pic­ture: SCOTT TIB­BALLS

Lau­ren Mul­lane of Port Dou­glas with her teacher Gayle Dun­can.

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