Ollie from Ballarat

Regional boost a game-changer for Ollie

Meet brave Ollie.

It’s the routine heel prick test given to every newborn, but for Ollie Robertson’s parents it delivered the shock of their life.

The brave boy from Ballarat was three weeks old when Mel and Peter Robertson were told he had cystic fibrosis.

“It was a massive shock to us because for someone to have CF, you have to be both carriers and we already had three children and they didn’t have CF,” Mrs Robertson said.

“We then rushed down to Melbourne to meet our respiratory doctor at the Royal Children’s.”

Ollie’s three years since have revolved around twice-daily physiotherapy, medications, and all-too-regular “tune-ups” at the Royal Children’s Hospital to keep him in good health.

“Ollie’s been in and out of the hospital since he was three weeks old,” Mrs Robertson said. “All up he’s had 10 14-day admissions.

“Having CF means that Ollie gets a build-up of mucus that affects his lungs and blocks the airways and his digestive system.

“It’s been a really tough road for him, but he’s a really resilient little boy.”

About one in every 2500 babies has cystic fibrosis, for which there is no cure. CF primarily affects the lungs and digestive system.

The constant trips to the city have been mentally draining and physically exhausting for the Robertsons, while juggling the needs of three other children. Mrs Robertson had to give up her job at the Ballarat Base Hospital to give Ollie around-the-clock care.

The couple hopes the new funding boost for regional hospitals thanks to the Good Friday Appeal will make a world of difference to children like Ollie and their families.

“It’s fantastic,” Mrs Robertson said.

“It means I can be close to the three older children as well and not two hours’ away. It will just help our family a lot.”

Written by Jen Kelly
Photos by David Caird
Published in the Herald Sun 09/02/2024

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