In an inspiring initiative from New South Wales, a new charity called Little Wings is helping the families of children residing in regional and remote areas of the State battling chronic health conditions, to access much-needed, specialised, city-based treatments.
Little Wings works to combat the tyranny of distance and healthcare costs by transporting parents and their sick children free-of-charge, to and from three major, Sydney-based hospitals – The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, and the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle – to access treatments.
Parents of children living with life-threatening or chronic illnesses are under immense pressure to meet their healthcare needs and to ensure they obtain appropriate medical attention. This constant strain is exacerbated by the need to travel long-distances on a regular basis for treatment. This travel represents an extra expense, and often involves one parent accompanying the child, leaving the remainder of the family at home. Little Wings is working hard to ease this burden.
Little Wings was founded in September, 2012 by Kevin Robinson, an accomplished father-of-four who has held a private pilot’s license since 16 years of age, and run his own management consultancy for the past 15 years. Little Wings facilitated 225 flights in 2014, and aims to coordinate 300 flights in 2015.
In 2011, Robinson met Bridget McGinley, a Rural Outreach Clinical Nurse Consultant, Oncology, from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, who outlined the pressing need for families of children living with life-threatening illnesses in regional and remote areas of NSW, to access specialised, Sydney-based treatments.
Recognising this need, and with the ability to provide a service to assist these families, Robinson launched the Little Wings charity.
In a recent interview with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Mick Knowles, a Port Macquarie-based father to a little boy living with the life-threatening Hunter Syndrome and a quadriplegic daughter, said the charity had dramatically improved his family’s life.
“There were days [before Little Wings] when we would be on the road from 5:30am.
“I would try to get home for work as a chef at night, but there were a few times when I had to call in and say, I’m just not going to make it back in time,” Mick said.
“Being taken care of by Little Wings has just changed our lives dramatically.”
To learn more about Little Wings, or to lend your support to the charity, head to www.littlewings.org.au