Zoey is a very cheeky seven-year old girl who loves ABBA, Pig the Pug books and going to school. According to her mum, she has the “most beautiful eyes and longest eyelashes you’ve ever seen. She loves cuddles and is always happiest when someone curls up with her for a nap.” Zoey has a life-limiting condition that means she is unable to sit, use her hands purposefully, talk or eat and she suffers from chronic chest infections and uncontrolled seizures.
When asked what’s their favourite thing about coming to Hummingbird House, Kyran Dunlop’s mum Carissa laughs and says “there’s too many! We get time out as a family. Kyran’s sisters love it here. It’s like being on holidays. We get time together without having to remember when medications are due, and Kyran is really happy to be here.”
How do you explain why it’s important to be able to switch off and just be mum? How do you correct people who assume your daughter is sleeping? These are the questions Charli Flannery-McRae’s mum Louise regularly deals with. It is through friendships made at Hummingbird House that Louise is finding the answers.
Imagine realising that your newborn boy’s bones are so soft, they break; and that his lungs are not fully developed. This is the reality for the McHugh family with their son Abel. His body doesn’t create the enzyme needed to make strong bones. He is kept alive because of a trial drug that seems to be working for him.
Whenever Mick is asked about his ‘feisty’ daughter, Natasja, his love and admiration for her is obvious. “She is much loved. By everyone who knows her. She can be feisty when she wants be, she certainly knows how to tell people off”, laughs Mick. “She is a wonderful soul, very content, happy little girl, who brings a lot of joy to the whole world.”
Mikaela is self-described ‘free-spirit’, and started visiting Hummingbird House just after the service opened in 2016. Mikaela’s muscles don’t work properly, which means that she is not as independent as she would like to be. She enjoys playing Habbo as she can get online and interact with the gaming community. She also loves lasagne, which is almost always on the menu when she stays at Hummingbird House.
When it came time for Brad and Mel Cooper to say goodbye to their adored 2 year old son Cody, they knew they wanted him to receive care at the end of his life at Hummingbird House. Cody was born prematurely, with hydrocephalus, spastic quadriplegia and an inoperable brain cyst. He showed himself to be more engaged with his surroundings than first thought. Mel spoke of her quiet amusement when people underestimated her “cheeky little man”. “He could move situations to suit himself. He was very clever like that.”
Madelyn is a very cheeky 4 year old little girl with the best personality. She’s basically non verbal with a few words and some key signs, but has a talent for getting her message across in her own way. All with the most infectious smile and giggle.
Madelyn brings immense joy to her mum Melissa, dad Marcus, siblings Mason, Alexander, Keira, Riley,Lachlan, Samuel, and all who know her through her laughter, uncomplicated love and rich glimpses into a different reality. “She has, and always will dance to the beat of her own drum”, says Melissa.