Our Children's Stories
Kathy Garland’s life was turned upside down last year when her youngest daughter Ava was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Here, Kathy tells her story and about how Little Wings has helped her family through one of the toughest times of their lives.
"Ava was your typical happy, bubbly 3-year-old living on a farm between Forbes and West Wyalong with me, her dad (Andrew) and four big sisters. When she hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days and then turned a bit of a funny colour, I drove her 50km into Forbes to see a doctor. I had no idea what lay ahead.
By 1am the next morning, doctors had diagnosed Ava with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, and unfortunately it was 98% of her bone marrow. By 4am Ava was admitted to the oncology ward and she commenced treatment later that morning.
I honestly don’t know what we would have done if Little Wings hadn't been there to help when we needed them the most. It was hard enough that our family was living apart for eight months. Ava and I would not have been able to get home at all and we would have seen very little of Andrew and the girls."
“At two and a half our little Heidi was diagnosed with Bilateral Wilms Tumours (kidney cancer) in February 2015. She started chemotherapy to shrink the tumours and had surgery to remove them. We were and still are on a huge emotional roller coaster and to add into this we had a new baby just 5 weeks after diagnosis. We are currently in remission.
Without Little Wings, we would have been away from home for 8 long months. Our family would have been separated for four of those with Scott having to return to work. Being able to come home in between treatments, Little Wings has kept our family together, allowed us to introduce our son Jamie to family and friends, taken countless hours out of the car, and given Heidi the freedom to be the little girl in her own home with her own things. The sheer joy and laughter every time Little Wings brings us home is a magical moment we cherish each time.”
Karyn, Scott, Zac, Alex, Heidi & Jamie
"Our daughter, Emily, now 6, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 6 months of age. Emily went into remission in May 2011, we still required six month check-ups in Sydney. Unfortunately in February 2012, Emily relapsed and recommenced chemo which was to continue for two years.
Our first experience with Little Wings was in June 2013. We had to return to Sydney for another check-up and were put in touch with Little Wings. Not only did their plane fly to Lismore to pick us up, but once at Bankstown airport, we were transported directly to Ronald McDonald House. And all at no cost to us. Our eight hour travel days had been reduced to three hours which is amazing especially travelling with a young child.
Emily has been in remission again since February 2014. We are still required to travel to Sydney for the next five years for three monthly check-ups and Little Wings makes this a much easier experience for us. We had an addition to our family in October 2014, Joshua, and now travel with two young children. We are so grateful being able to use this service whilst travelling with two young children because not only does it take so much of the stress away but it also allows us to spend more time at home and less time away from our family and friends.
We are so thankful for all Little Wings has done for us and other families with sick children."
Tania, Darren, Emily and Joshua
"When Sam was first diagnosed with cancer back in May, our world as we knew it was turned on its head. Adam and I will never forget the morning we were sitting with our outreach nurse who explained the Little Wings service. I can say it was the first time I cried openly. Up until that point we had tried to put on a brave face, but inside I had no idea how we would manage to keep our family unit together while Sam underwent treatment eight hours away from the family home. They were tears of relief and immeasurable gratitude. Little Wings has been a true blessing to our family. Whether it be flying Sam home to spend a weekend with his brother and sister, or flying him down to Sydney for clinic and scans, we would be lost without them. Sam has a long road ahead of him, but having Little Wings to help will make the journey a little easier."
Adam & Angie
Beautiful Molly is 3 years old and is one of our passengers from Narromine. She travels down with mum Rachel and sister Esther for treatment in Sydney and loves to fly!! The family live on a farm so being away from home for long periods is extremely difficult. Driving is a time consuming and costly trip, and commercial flights are not a good option for children undergoing treatment so the Little Wings plane is a welcome sight and makes the travel much easier for everyone.
"Being a parent is a full time job. Being a parent of a child with cancer means overtime. With so many miles covered just in blood counts at home, the stress that comes is unnerving. Little Wings helps remove the largest portion of that stress away by covering the largest distance of travel for treatment in a simple flight. Everyone at Little Wings makes you feel like family and become an integral part of your own family. Without Little Wings, we'd be lost in a world of expensive fuel receipts, broken down cars and a world of uncertainty and stress.
There are not enough words to thank Little Wings for their help."
Rachel, John, Molly and Esther
"On 6 September 2013 Will was diagnosed and our personal circumstances changed overnight. Like a lot of people we were unprepared for the up-heavel in our lives but with the help and support of different organisations such as Little Wings we have been able to confront the situation with much less stress. Because of our relative isolation from Westmead and the nature of Wills illness even travelling short distances can be quite taxing.
The team at Little Wings provide this support, regularly transporting us to and from the children's hospital often with little or no notice. Even a short trip in the car for Will can be quite tough and knowing that we will be flying is a relief and brings a smile to his face."
Monique, Paul, Will, Isobel, Oliver, Charlie and Hugh
"Our 8 year old son was diagnosed with the rare and often fatal condition of neuroblastoma in January 2012, while taking a well earned break in New Zealand . Due to the sudden onset and severity of his condition and the multiple operations and immunosuppressive treatment our return to Australia was delayed for eight months. Our care was transferred to Sydney. This involved a number of trips backwards and forwards and specialised treatment is ongoing. Our family reside in a rural property north of Tamworth. This is at least a six hour drive one way to Westmead Hospital and with a very ill child can prove distressful for not only the patient but the whole family. The Little Wings organisation have proved invaluable in providing a near customised service flying us from Tamworth Airport to Sydney, followed by a private car delivery service direct to the front of the Hospital. One of the primary concerns for both parents and treating Physicians is the risk of infection , so minimising exposure to other passengers such as in commercial flights is minimised by the Little Wings setup.
In conclusion as a family we would like to provide our wholehearted support of the Little Wings Organisation and urge you to do the same."