Identical twins Teddy and Bradley were born in February 2012. Before they were born, doctors discovered that both boys had enlarged kidneys and Teddy also had a heart issue.
Once they joined the world, these two little boys had a fight on their hands.
Teddy’s heart and kidneys corrected themselves after he was born. However, at one day old he developed a bowel obstruction and needed immediate surgery to fit a colostomy bag which he would have for the next three months.
Bradley was born with a horseshoe kidney and suffered numerous infections. He also had breathing problems and was put on a machine to help him breathe.
Both boys spent their first four weeks in intensive care being fed via a nasal gastric tube. Bloods and other tests discovered that Teddy and Bradley had an extremely rare identical chromosome disorder 7q 35 terminal deletion. As few as 10–20 children in the world have the same chromosome deletion, and all display different symptoms.
For Teddy and Bradley the disorder means varied complex medical issues needing a lot of treatment. Both boys had poor muscle tone and their spinal cords were attached at the base of their spine. They also have developmental delays, are saying very few words and are learning sign language.
Both Teddy and Bradley suffer from seizures, take numerous medications and have each had multiple operations including surgery on their spine, tonsillectomy, dental surgery, MRIs and multiple other scans. Every operation is high risk for both boys as their little bodies don’t cope well with the anaesthetic drugs and they often spend two days in intensive care post-surgery.
Now nearly five years old, Teddy and Bradley have been in and out of hospital all their lives. And with the family living in a small town in northern New South Wales, this means many long hours of driving for mum Kate.
Kate makes the five hour drive to Brisbane at least once every three months for Teddy and Bradley to see their team of medical specialists at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. She also drives two hours to Inverell every two weeks for the boys’ speech therapy. After all this, Kate also has the one hour drive to Goondiwindi each week for Teddy and Bradley’s physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other doctor appointments.
The Nurse Navigator program has been invaluable to Kate and her family as they continue treatment for Teddy and Bradley. Nurse Navigators are funded by the Queensland Government to help regional families coordinate appointments with their local hospital and the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.
Teddy and Bradley are lovely little boys with adorable personalities. They both tolerate their treatments and therapy with enormous bravery and heroic determination. Teddy and Bradley will soon be fitted for wheelchairs and their futures hold more surgeries, ongoing medical care and therapy.
Tune into the Channel Nine Telethon on Saturday 19 November 2016 to hear more about Teddy and Bradley’s story and learn how you can help sick kids like them, today and tomorrow.