Reg­gie Bird’s quest for her son

B Big her Brother son Lu­cas from a ter­ri­ble dis­ease star Reg­gie is in the fight of her life to save ve

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents -

Reg­gie Sorensen is fast los­ing her sight, but be­fore she can no longer see her two beau­ti­ful chil­dren, the lov­able re­al­ity star wants to know her des­per­ately ill son Lu­cas has the best p pos­si­ble chance in life. “I’m afraid my lit­tle boy wi will die be­fore a cure is foun found for cys­tic fi­bro­sis [CF],” she says,sa fight­ing back tears at her mod­est­mod Gold Coast home as s she cradle­scradl Lu­cas in her arms. “He on­lyon asked me yes­ter­day, ‘Mum,‘Mum w would you rather be able tot see or for me to get bet­ter?’ “I said, ‘Mate, my lit­tle man, I’veI al­ready seen ev­ery­thing, but you,y my lovely, you need to know anda feel what it’s like to be well anda healthy – so of course I’d w want you bet­ter!’ ” With a de­gen­er­a­tive eye dis­ease slowlys send­ing her blind, life has beenb pretty tough for Reg­gie, but shes shrugs off her own dis­abil­ity and anda dis­ap­point­ment at what fate has dealt her to fo­cus on Lu­cas, seven, and his big sis­ter Mia, 10.

“Lu­cas has more courage than the en­tire front row of his beloved Gold Coast Ti­tans footy team,” she says. “He’s been rushed to hospi­tal every two weeks this year with ma­jor com­pli­ca­tions af­ter he was fit­ted with a feed­ing tube. He’s al­ways nau­seous but he never com­plains. He’s an in­spi­ra­tion to us all.”

Reg­gie, 43, says it’s his fight­ing spirit that keeps her pos­i­tive in her dark mo­ments when she feels she has lit­tle to smile about.

“I wake up every day and pray this isn’t the last day I’ll ac­tu­ally be able to phys­i­cally see my kids,” she says. “Imag­ine the fear, clos­ing your eyes to dark­ness then wak­ing up won­der­ing if it will be dark for­ever. When I put the kids to bed at night I say a prayer. I watch them fall asleep know­ing that one day soon I won’t be able to see their lit­tle faces. It scares me more than any­thing to imag­ine I won’t know what they will look like as they grow older.”

Reg­gie suf­fers from re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa, which af­fects the retina. She has just 10 de­grees of cen­tral vi­sion and can no longer drive. Even gro­cery shop­ping is a chal­lenge. “I can’t see above or below,” ex­plains Reg­gie. “If I can see a pen­cil across the room, I’ll

writes LIZZIE WILSON N

fall over 20 ele­phants to get t to it. I wish I could have some­onene see what I see to de­scribe how de­bil­i­tat­ing it is. Mia and Lu­ca­su­cas are so gor­geous, they say, ‘Mum, Mum, we love how you walk us too school, no one else gets that’. at’.” ”

Reg­gie says as much as she he hates her own dis­abil­ity, herer heart breaks watch­ing Lu­casas strug­gle to eat and breathe be­cause of the sever­ity of his CF. He has put on just 3kg in three­hree years, and at less than 20kgg is half the weight of his school­mates. ates.

“Poor lit­tle thing,” she says. ys. “He’s never been so sick andnd he was so ex­cited about goingg into grade two but he’s missed two months al­ready. He just wantsants to be like the other kids, and I’d love to be a nor­mal mum but I never will be. All I can do is love and care for them as best I can.””

Every week is a strug­gle fi­nan­cially. The $250,000 Reg­gieeg­gie won in Big Brother in 2003 has long gone. She rents a mod­est dest home and works in a call cen­tre when she can, but shehe of­ten has to care for Lu­cas.

“I try hard to see the pos­i­tive tive but it’s a daily strug­gle,” she e says. “Any­one who has a sickck child, par­tic­u­larly one withh CF, would un­der­stand how toughugh it is. Mia is the most lov­ing bigg sis­ter but some­times she says I favour avour Lu­cas be­cause he needs my y at­ten­tion. One day af­ter school hool I saw Mia hold­ing Lu­cas’s hand and ask­ing him if he had a happy day. I cried a river that day.” .” May is cys­tic fi­bro­sis aware­ness­ness month. Take part in the “655 Roses” chal­lenge at www.65roses.org.au

‘Lu­cas has more courage than the en­tire front row of the Ti­tans’

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