Local touch to heartwarming story
Monday 4 April 2011
The following story was sent in by Wildlife Habitat general manager, Garry Sullivan who is a close family friend of the people involved.
"My job's not just about animals, if we as people could look after each other a little more the world would be a better place," Garry said.
"Here is a real life special story about two people with plenty of guts. The following letter has been written to Parliament by a 15 year old girl whom loves her sister dearly, (and) after two attempts, a meeting is being arranged with the Health Department."
Letter from Teegan Wilke:
To whom this may concern, if it does in fact concern anyone.
I'm writing to you in need of help and still not quite sure if you’re the one that will be able to help me the way I need it, but with this, anything is worth a shot.
For you to understand what I'm talking about, I will start at the beginning.
My sister Millie who has just recently turned four was born with what they thought was constipation. She has been hospitalized many of times; the worst I can remember was when she got to the point of vomiting up her own faeces because they weren't able to come out any other way.
Before the doctors knew exactly what it was that she had she wasn't able to walk, her speech decreased and she was constantly in pain. As they became more educated they told us it would be one of three diseases, two of them being fatal, and if that were the case we would be waiting to see how long she would have left of her short life, a timeline.
Thankfully she had the least server, Slow Transit Constipation which may mimic or coincide with Hirschsprung's disease which is when a child is born without certain cells in the intestine or when there are abnormalities with the nerves in the large intestine which then stops the muscle in his or her bowel from working.
She has four surgeons, one of them that flies down from Sydney to see her. There are eighty kids in Australia that suffer from Slow Transit Constipation disease, Millie being the second worst his ever seen.
We were given two options, one, to do nothing and by the age of 12 to 15 her main organs would be shutting down and whatever life she has now, would no longer be there, this though was never really counted as an option for my family in the first place. Or two, was to rent a machine that was on trial and hadn't been proven to work as of yet, this machine would hopefully shock he bowel into working. This option was of course the one we choose as well as her medicine which like everything else is also expensive.
Millie is on this machine for half an hour two times a day around her stomach, it feels almost like pins and needles but worse than you could ever imagine, she can go up to level 9 on the days she is able to tolerate the pain. I tried it on my arm to see what she was going though, I went up to level 11 which caused my hand to buckle and tears to stream down my cheeks. The difference is, I'm fifteen, she's four, and I only had it on my arm.
Millie may come across as a young, happy, outgoing girl, but if you dig just that little bit deeper you may find that’s not always the case. Her bad days sometimes out weighing the good, in the days were she won’t eat, she won’t play, she will only sleep and roll over in agony. I can’t tell you how much hate I have for those day, the days when it’s not the happy Millie my family has come to know and forever love but the Millie who shows no emotion but pain.
Because this disease isn't well know, hasn't been around for long and only one in five thousand kids are born with it, it also isn't funded. This means all the doctors’ expenses are paid by us alone, with no help what so ever from the government, just because this disease isn’t well known doesn’t make it any cheaper to get rid of.
I'm doing what i can for my family and I realise you don't control this, but i feel helpless doing nothing and if that means i have to send a letter to someone I've never met asking for sympathy not for me but for my little sister and family then that's what I’ll do. I guess what I'm asking from you is for you to try and get this disease funded and I don't expect you to do anything knowing you also don't know me but I would like you to try.
I did mention it was a long shot, but also very worth asking for. I don't want to lose my baby sister, I only just got her.
Please reply even if it is to say that it will never work, I'm very persistent, believe me. Thank you for all your time,
Sincerely Teegan Wilkie
"We'll keep you posted," Garry said. "We will be naming the next two special critters born at the Habitat after Teegan and Millie."
Garry has asked If anyone can help to please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a post script to this letter, Teegan has since been contacted by a member of Parliament.
An email from Teegan to Garry said, ". . .in all her years in the Parliament she had never seen a letter like mine. She is arranging a Centrelink plan for them, so they will get money for Millie's bills, and if Centrelink didn’t agree they could contact her and she would sort them out.
"And also, she told Pauline to tell me I’m welcome to do work experience with them!!! How exciting is that, especially when everyone wasn’t even all that sure I’d get a reply."