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News

14
Sep 2015

Helping Jakob and Dani meet their needs

Very Special Kids supports 42 families in Gippsland. One of those families is four-year-old Jakob Engley and mum Dani McLennan from Traralgon.

Jakob has an undiagnosed genetic condition that affects his respiratory system, making it difficult for him to breathe and resulting in dwarfism, profound deafness and preventing Jakob from being able to talk.

Dani describes Jakob as “curious and cheeky, with a great personality”. He loves eating food, listening to music and swinging on swings and his new assistance dog, Zola. Although unable to talk, Jakob is learning to use Auslan and PECS, Picture Communication Exchange System, to communicate with others and will begin kindergarten next year.

Jakob requires around-the-clock care from Dani to meet all his needs. He attends a number of therapies requiring weekly travel from Traralgon to Melbourne, including occupational therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy. His condition has also required travel overseas for treatment.

Dani says Very Special Kids has provided much-needed emotional and practical support through the Family Support Worker in the Traralgon Office.

“Our Family Support Worker helps by being there for face-to-face contact, offering ideas about events and places to take Jakob and assistance and advice about how to fund Jakob’s treatments,” she says.

Very Special Kids operates an office in Traralgon with a Family Support Worker providing support to families in the Gippsland region including counselling and advocacy, and coordinating local programs and events that provide families with the opportunity to meet each other and share information and experiences.

While Jakob is yet to visit Very Special Kids Hospice, Dani says it’s reassuring to know that hospice is there for respite care.

“If I should need someone to take care of Jakob, there is a specialised place to take him where his care needs will be understood and catered for.”

Dani and Jakob playing

Very Special Kids supports 42 families in Gippsland, and 900 across Victoria, that are caring for children with life-threatening conditions, by providing 24-hour nursing care at Very Special Kids Hospice and family support services.

Very Special Kids operates an office in Traralgon with a Family Support Worker providing support to families in the Gippsland region including counselling and advocacy, and coordinating local programs and events that provide families with the opportunity to meet each other and share information and experiences.

It costs $7 million per year to operate Very Special Kids, with all services free-of-charge to families. Please help us continue to support children like Jakob, and their families, by donating to the Very Special Kids Piggy Bank Appeal.

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The Piggy Bank Appeal will be coming to Gippsland:

  • Thursday, 3 September 2015, Commonwealth Bank Sale, 10am – 2pm
  • Thursday, 3 September 2015, Star Hotel Sale, 5pm – 9pm
  • Friday, 4 September 2015, Commonwealth Bank Traralgon, 11am – 4pm
  • Friday, 4 September 2015, Morwell Hotel, 5.30pm – 8.30pm
  • Saturday, 5 September 2015, Inverloch Lotto, 9am – 1pm
  • Thursday, 17 September 2015, Commonwealth Bank Morwell, 10.30am – 3pm
  • Thursday, 17 September 2015, Royal Exchange Hotel Traralgon, 5.30pm – 8.30pm
  • Friday, 18 September 2015, Commonwealth Bank Bairnsdale, 10am – 3pm
  • Friday, 18 September 2015, Morwell Bowling Club, 5pm – 8pm
  • Saturday, 19 September 2015, Bunnings Morwell, 9am – 4pm

Categories: Family News
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