Tuesday April 2, 2013
There is very little that can be more distressing for parents than having their child diagnosed with cancer. When they should be playing, running, and laughing; children fighting cancer have their survival battle ahead of them.
A seldom thought about challenge of childhood cancer is the additional challenges that come upon the whole family, such as financial pressure as one parent often has leave work to become the primary carer, and the stress for siblings. Over 50% of marriages fail where that family is caring for a child suffering cancer. This burden is even worse for families in rural and regional areas, where there is great distances between home and advanced hospital treatment.
This burden motivated Glenmore Park Businessman and pilot, Kevin Robinson to start the new charity," Little Wings". Little Wings is a not-for-profit organisation supporting the oncology unit at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. Little Wings provides a free flight service to children and their families from regional areas who require oncology treatment at the Children's Hospital at Westmead.
Member for Mulgoa, Tanya Davies, recently met with Mr Robinson to hear first-hand about Little Wings and its current start-up challenges.
"Little Wings is making a huge difference to the quality of care of these children as travel fatigue is eliminated and the family can be transported back home to their family much quicker. Little Wings makes it possible for children from country areas to go home during short breaks between treatments." Mrs Davies said.
Mrs Davies recently informed the NSW Parliament that the Little Wings service makes a "tangible difference" to the patients and their families, by cutting the travel time, reducing patient fatigue by allowing children to receive their treatment and return home quicker and reunites the family unit faster.
Mr Robinson said that he was pleased to hear Mrs Davies speech in the Parliament.
"Every bit of publicity helps and I think it’s really important to have the backing of community leaders" Mr Robinson said.
Mrs Davies met with Kevin Robinson, Ms Bridget McGinley - Head Oncology CNC at Westmead Hospital and financial supporters, Adrian Nisbet - Managing Director of Automation Group and Bernie Bugdalski - Midea Air to thank them for their support and financial partnership with Little Wings.
Ms McGinley said that the service was already making a huge difference to patient’s lives.
"Little Wings is an easy organisation to work with and I am often able to secure transport back to regional areas for patients with little notice to facilitate care and training in rural and regional hospitals, it just makes all the difference" Ms McGinley said.
Mr Robinson said that Little Wings is currently funded completely by business and private donations and as such the service is limited to the resources that are available at the time.
"Automation Group and Midea Air have been really generous and have helped Little Wings get to the point that it is at now"
"There are so many more children and families that we can help, if we had more funding".
"I am working with Tanya to look at every possible avenue for government funding, but the real challenge now is to appeal to the public to get behind Little Wings" Mr Robinson said.