Walking into the Emergency Department at the Perth Children’s Hospital with their sick two-year-old daughter Amelia, Brianna and Russell felt…
Your donation can make a life changing difference to child or young person like 15-year-old paraplegic Angus.
In January 2017, Dampier teenager Angus was riding a motorbike near his family home when he was suddenly hit by a kangaroo. Flown to Perth for emergency surgery, doctors later gave his parents Debbie and Craig the devastating news that no parent wants to hear – Angus’s spine was so severely damaged that he would be a paraplegic.
Angus spent three months in intensive physical therapy with the hospital’s dedicated iRehab team to maximise his movement capabilities. Nowadays rehabilitation is a lot more than adapting to a new life with a significant loss of movement. Evidence shows that early and intensive stimulation of the nervous system takes advantage of the brain’s plasticity which aids recovery and leads to improved movement, muscle tone, cardiovascular health and less complications.
For Angus and other wheelchair bound patients like him, the game-changing technology is the wearable ReWalk exoskeleton – a state of the art robotic walking device. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Foundation donors, the iRehab team trialled and has now acquired a ReWalk device – the first of its kind in a children’s hospital in Australia and one of only three devices in the country.
Customised to fit each patient that uses it, the ReWalk allows patients with paralysis of the legs to stand and walk. The frame operates with motors at the hip and knee joints and its robotic motion technology senses the changes in the wearer’s centre of gravity and initiates their steps. The ReWalk aims to give paraplegic patients an experience as close to natural walking as possible.
Fifteen year old Angus was one of the first patients to trial the ReWalk. His mum Debbie says it was an incredible moment – her son, standing up tall next to her.
He patted her on the head like teenage boys often do as they grow taller than their mothers! Debbie is immensely proud of Angus’s positive ‘can do’ attitude, a critical part of any patient’s on-going rehabilitation.
Imagine the impact this device is having upon the self-esteem of paraplegic patients – to stand up, look their peers in the eye and walk. Dr Kate Langdon, Perth Children’s Hospital paediatrician and rehabilitation specialist, says in the foreseeable future, patients like Angus could become independent users of the device at home and even take their dogs for a walk.
You can imagine how difficult it is for anyone, and particularly for children, to adjust to life confined to a wheelchair. Thanks to generous donors, equipment like the ReWalk is completely redefining the future for children who we thought would never walk again.
The ReWalk is just one example of the incredible advances Perth Children’s Hospital is making for young patients and their families thanks to Foundation donors.
When you give to the Foundation we can continue to help more kids like Angus, and many other aspects of paediatric health at Perth Children’s Hospital, including urgent requests from our cancer, burns and neo-natal units.
If you would like to make a donation today to help kids like Angus, click below: