Family's VIP treatment
SERIOUSLY ill Clermont girl Olena Daley has spent almost a third of her life at the Townsville Ronald McDonald House - 1000km from home, family and friends.
The Daley family was able to escape on a VIP holiday experience to Cairns last week thanks to Ingenia Communities.
A leading Australian property group, Ingenia Communities is helping Ronald McDonald House Charities families create memories and opportunities to escape the daily stresses they face.
Fiona and Jesse Daley, parents to four-year-old Braith and one-year-old Olena, were excited to have the opportunity to spend a week together experiencing all Cairns had to offer.
"Having an ill child costs a lot of money, we haven't been on a holiday all together as we just could not afford it - I don't even know when we last did have one,” Mrs Daley said.
"We are eternally grateful for this fantastic opportunity from Ingenia, every day is learning to balance family time and our new normal.
"I don't have enough words to explain how amazing it was and how grateful we were to have an opportunity to be together.”
Mrs Daley said her favourite part was seeing the children enjoy themselves.
"It was really important to Jesse and I that both kids have a really good time because Olena has been through hell and back,” she said.
"She's had five surgeries and we spent most of last year and part of this year at Ronald McDonald House while she was backwards and forwards at the hospital.
"For Braith as well, it's a pretty heavy thing for a three-year-old to try and contemplate what is happening to his little baby sister and be thrown into a position where he is backwards and forwards to the hospital and doesn't know what's happening.
"It was just good to see both kids having an awesome time.”
Returning from their holiday last Saturday, the Daley family enjoyed every minute of the Ingenia Holidays VIP family experience, which included seven nights' stay at Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut as well as experiencing some of Cairns' tourist highlights.
Baby Olena's brave battle for healthy life
LITTLE Olena Daley has been fighting every single day from the moment she was born.
Olena was born with lumbar syndrome, described as a rare condition that appears as a hemangioma, or multiple hemangiomas, on the lower body, in association with other congenital anomalies.
In Olena's case, she was born with a tethered spinal cord as well as some of her internal organs being "jumbled”.
Since birth, Olena has had to undergo five surgeries.
"Olena needed to have surgery to detach her spinal cord, which has allowed her to walk, move and function like a normal kid,” Olena's mum Fiona Daley said.
"If she didn't have that surgery, it is possible none of that would have been possible for her.
"She also had to undergo surgery to fix her internal organs to where they should be.”
Mrs Daley said Olena was now doing really well.
"She is hitting all her milestones,” she said.
"She is walking, talking and is just a happy little girl.
"We don't have to have any more surgeries for her at this point, but she will have to see the surgeons for the rest of her life, so that could change.”
She said the family was forever grateful to the surgeons and Ronald McDonald House for their amazing work and support.
"We are super grateful her surgeons wanted to do all her surgeries early in life so she wouldn't remember any of them,” she said.
"Ronald McDonald House has been so great. I don't want to think about where we'd be without them. Financially it's a huge help, let alone the fact that it's across the road from the hospital and I can be with Olena in three minutes.
"We just hope she's happy and healthy, and whatever happens from here can be dealt with as it has been.”