Since my teenager years I always be involved in some kind of volunteer work. So end of 2013 I contacted the Childhood Kidney Support Network and said I would love to photograph their kids & families. The idea in my head was to try to publish something in the local newspapers to bring awareness of the Kidney disease in kids before Christmas & also give their families some family portraits.
The work was nicely done with great help of amazing Lyndal Clark from Childhood KSN & my fantastic husband who wrote the articles. We successfully managed to get the story published in 2 different newspapers.
I felt really happy to be able to give a little bit towards this amazing kids & their families. The old saying of ‘giving feels better than receiving’ its so true 🙂 I can’t wait to be photographing them again whatever they may need, they are such awesome people!
Here is one of the published articles (the photo on top was with it).
Kidney Kids Share an Uncommon Bond
Shanae, Lily and Shaylea may look like three cheerful, ordinary girls, but there is a subtle difference they share which binds them more closely than others their age.
They can all proudly call themselves Kidney Kids, having been given the chance at an almost normal childhood thanks to the generosity of organ donors.
Shanae’s mum Pam Donald said her eight- year-old daughter was bouncing back after receiving two kidneys and a liver and was looking forward to returning to school in Townsville.
“We had a small bout of rejection four weeks after [the transplants], but we’re now 7 weeks on and going strong,”Pam said.
As the State’s only paediatric haemodialysis unit is in Brisbane, the family needed to move to the city when Shanae’s kidneys were removed in June.
Lily Rowlings, aged nine from Forest Lake, was born with Hypoplastic Kidney Disease. This meant her kidneys didn’t develop from birth, her mum Brooke explained.
“She had flu for three days and wasn’t shaking the flu, and we were to find out that she was stage five, which is as bad as it gets,” she said. “A year on dialysis…and then we had a transplant. So, she’s currently two years post-
kidney transplant and it’s been great since,” Brooke said.
Shaylea’s mum Cassandra Finlay said the hardest part was “more the unknown” in the initial years after learning about her daughter’s diagnosis of chronic renal failure.
The condition was brought on by Reflux Nephropathy, which is where the kidneys are damaged by the backward flow of urine into the kidneys.
“Basically they [medical specialists] just said, she’s going to need a transplant but for now we’re just going to monitor her and see how she goes,” said Cassandra, who hails from Deception Bay.
Her six-year-old daughter was on dialysis for about five months before receiving a transplant In September this year, and during her ordeal “she’s just been a tower of strength. She’s just powered through it like a little trooper,” Cassandra said.
These ‘Kidney Kids’, as they call themselves, are the prime focus of the Childhood Kidney Support Network, a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers and a branch of the Kidney Support Network.
Its aim is to enhance the lifestyle, health and wellbeing of children, teenagers and young adults who have chronic kidney disease and
One day the Network might be brightening hospital wards with balloons or conducting activity programs in the Haemodialysis Unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and the next it is throwing the children a party.
The Network also tackles some of the bigger problems parents face, like learning how to come to terms with their child’s illness.
Coordinator Lyndal Clark said the Network will be launching two books which explain what it means for a child to go through haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
“It’s been endorsed by the renal team at the Royal Children’s Hospital and also by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London,” she said.
Lyndal explained there were previously no printed materials covering children with kidney disease.
She now has plans to develop a health journal and an app, which parents can use to document their child’s kidney journey and to inform doctors about the specifics of their condition.
But without much needed donations, this vital work must wait. For details about how you can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.childhoodkidneysupportnetwork.org.
The Messenger www.northlakesmessenger.com.au 22