Help for sick country kids in Brisbane

Unwell child

Finding out your child needs an urgent operation, has cancer, or a chronic disease is unimaginably stressful. Now consider getting the diagnosis in a country town, vast distances from the specialist medical care required. This article is about where to get help for sick kids who are from rural Queensland.

This is the reality facing bush families. Our state is huge, but our health services are centralised. Sometimes carers and patients have a bit of warning to pack their bags. In emergency situations, they can be on a plane or helicopter in a matter of hours.

Once they arrive in Brisbane they not only have to contend with the enormity of the medical problem itself, but also with logistical challenges like finding accommodation, arranging transport, getting a hot meal or even buying a toothbrush. Some can afford it. Some can’t.

Support for Queensland Country Kids who need to go to a City Hospital

Thankfully, there’s people to help. Breaking Down the Barriers for Rural Patients in City Hospitals was founded by Justine Christerson. It’s a practical group that links the families of sick country kids with care packages, food, transport and emotional support.

The best part is Brisbane residents can make a big difference through small donations of goods, or giving up a bit of time to cook meals or give someone a lift. This group isn’t simply asking for donations. Even if your finances are stretched, you can still make a difference.

Justine has firsthand knowledge of the challenges endured by some regional families. In late 2012 she was living in Biloela, in central Queensland, when there were two serious car accidents in close succession. She managed to raise $10,000 in three months to help the families of the young accident victims with their medical and travel expenses. “The families told me it wasn’t just about the money, it was a real spirit lifter,” she said.

So where to start? Click here to join the Facebook page. There you will find small requests that can make a big difference to people at their lowest ebb. You can also sign up to be a volunteer.

Some of the volunteer jobs include:

*Cooking a minimum of six meals to take to hospitals or private homes. *Having a stock of food on hand to drop off to people at short notice. *Providing transport (often between hospitals and the airport). *Adopting a family to help them navigate a big hospital.

Justine said the families really appreciate the support. One dad who was in Brisbane caring for his 12-year-old son who had just been diagnosed with cancer told her: “You really make the impossible seem possible”.

Come on Brisbane Kids readers, let’s help some fellow families, teach our kids a valuable lesson in empathy and make our little part of the world a better place …. one toiletry pack or vat of vegetable dahl at a time.

Facebook address: https://www.facebook.com/ruralpatientscityhospital Justine Christerson: 0432 303 582.

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