Supporting Charlotte’s Cause
Recently the community of Northam came together to assist the escalating needs of a local family by holding a fundraiser in town for them. The community approached RRT to assist with the fundraising, however because of the short notice and the time of the event the RRT was not able to assist in a great way.
Before Charlotte Patterson was born, she was diagnosed with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) and at birth doctors realized she had a lot more complications than expected. Charlotte, 16 months old, has had 7 operations to date. Her first and most major being performed at only 3 days of age and during this had numerous seizures causing brain damage. She was born without the left side of her diaphragm and consequently, in-utero, all of her abdominal organs migrated up into her chest cavity occupying the space where her left lung needed to grow. As such, she was also born with no left lung and also a hole in her heart (which had been pushed over to the right chest wall under her right lung).
Doctors gave Charlotte a 10% chance of survival at birth and had grief counsellors primed as they felt sure she would not survive. Charlotte not only overcame the initial major surgical procedure, but has also overcome chronic respiratory issues (now managed to some extent via home oxygen) and complex feeding/digestion problems due to a ‘plastic abdomen’ (a condition occurring as a result of her initial surgery in which all of her organs are fused together with scar tissue). She is now fed via tube 24 hours per day and her stomach must be avoided completely and drained regularly. Charlotte truly is a living miracle, given the phenomenal hurdles she has been faced with and overcome. Through each painful medical procedure or complication, she has demonstrated incredible resilience and courage. She’s an extremely contented and happy baby, who always manages to smile, no matter what life throws at her. “
Due to the fact the RRT weren’t able to help as originally intended a local RRT member, who knew the family, spoke directly to Charlotte’s father – Lachlan. After explaining that the RRT Northam still wanted to support the family however they could Lachlan mentioned that there was a need for heating in the family house.
With the cold winter weather Charlotte was finding it very hard to keep a normal body temperate and getting sick very often. Working with Hutt City RRT got very competitive rates for a large split system zircon unit and used local tradespeople to have it installed free of charge for the family. The family are very grateful for the donation from RRT, and we wish Charlotte and her family all the best for the future!