Georgia is a gorgeous, warm, people-person who loves fishing, music, AFL and talking - but her life started in chaos.
During birth, Georgia had a large bleed in her brain and suffered a stroke. Her mum, Angela, and her dad, Adrian, were terrified.
"The resuscitated Georgia and brought her back to life. I flew down with her from Coffs Harbour to the children's hospital in Sydney. She was in intensive care, there were medical interventions everywhere - it was all a bit of a blur and very traumatic," Adrian says.
After some months of monitoring, it was starting to look like baby Georgia was in the clear. Until, when she was three months old she had a seizure. And not just one. Georgia started having at least sixty seizures every day.
“Every time she woke up, she’d have a seizure. She was on five different medications which made her really drowsy, so she would have a seizure, have a feed, fall asleep, wake up and have another couple of seizures. That was her whole life,” Angela says.
This was Georgia’s life for almost two years.
You might be able to imagine the affect it was having on Adrian and Angela – Georgia had to be supervised 24/7. The rest of their life was on pause.
Unfortunately, there are many families who find themselves in this position, exhausted and scared about what the future might bring. To know they are not alone can mean so much. Will you show your support and donate today?
“Medication wasn’t working, so we were pretty devastated to know that nothing could be done. Every seizure Georgia had was doing damage and after a year and a half, we were at our wits’ end,” Adrian says.
It may seem drastic, but the only option Georgia’s parents had left was to have half of her brain removed – take away the part that was causing the seizures.
“The surgeon said that if she had a hemispherectomy, Georgia would be paralysed down one side, but that was a better life than the continuous seizures. It was our last option,” Angela says.
It was so fortunate that the operation never took place, because suddenly, the seizures stopped.
“When she was two years old, Georgia got a head cold and her seizures started to lessen. And for some reason, after three days, they stopped. And nobody, not even the neurologists could tell us why, or point to any conclusion at all. But we didn’t care what the reason was, we were just so relived they stopped,” Adrian says
Now, Georgia is 20 years old and has only had three seizures since. She has a physical disability on her left side affecting her arm and leg and has intellectual disability as a result of the numerous seizures.
“We have to do almost everything for her. With only one functional hand, she finds it very difficult to get dressed on her won, cook and cut up her meals. All waking hours, someone has to be around to help her,” Adrian says.
“It’s just all the little things. For example, she knows if her clothes are inside out, but she struggles to figure out how to fix it,” Angela says.
“We haven’t been out by ourselves in years. Our family help us out, but it’s often only an hour or two when we need to attend to something at our son’s school.”
Despite the daily challenges, it is amazing to see how far Georgia has come. When Georgia was born, her family were told to never expect her to walk or talk.
“It’s funny, she was having speech therapy when she was younger and we always said – if she ever starts talking, we’ll never tell her to be quiet. We have regretted that once or twice since, because now she loves a chat!” Adrian says with a wide smile on his face.
Georgia has now finished school and attends Minda’s MyPATH day programs, which allow her to develop her skills and interests. Currently, Georgia spends her days swimming, learning how to cook, dancing and building her confidence through programs like the MyPATH Leadership Group and Girl Power.
“She has been so happy. She was very nervous when she first started at Minda, but she’s very happy now and loves all the staff,” Angela says.
At the moment, Georgia is unable to work, but her family hope that one day she will be able to achieve part time employment.
“For her future, I just want Georgia to have some independence, be happy and feel safe,” Adrian says.
These are basic qualities that we all want for our children, aren’t they? Georgia may need extra help to achieve them, but that’s why she’s lucky to have the community’s support.
What might the world look like if we didn’t come together to support those who need it most?
“Minda’s work is invaluable. They support so many people, I don’t know what a lot of people with disability would do if they didn’t exist.
We’d be stuck, that’s for sure – it’s the reason we moved back to Adelaide.
Angela and I are able to go to work and Georgia is in an environment where she feels confident and is having happy and meaningful days. She is fulfilled,” Adrian says.
Thanks to our donors, we can exist and provide the best possible support to people like Georgia who deserve every opportunity for an enriched life.