CALL FOR HELP: Emerald’s Ocean Neill has been diagnosed with Perthes disease and needs the community’s support.
CALL FOR HELP: Emerald’s Ocean Neill has been diagnosed with Perthes disease and needs the community’s support. Amelia Ahern

Emerald three-year-old wants wheels for Christmas

FORGET about two front teeth - all Emerald's Ocean Neill wants for Christmas is a pink Barbie wheelchair.

The three-year-old has been diagnosed with bilateral Perthes disease and is no longer supposed to run, jump, skip or even walk.

Perthes disease is a childhood disorder affecting the head of the femur - that is the ball of the ball-and- socket joint of the hip.

Her mother Kylie Hema said the road ahead was a long one.

"She had been limping on and off for about eight months and you'd say to her, 'Ocean is your leg sore?' and she'd say, 'no'," Ms Hema said.

"We took her to the doctors and she had an ultrasound and she had fluid on her hips.

"The doctor knew straight away that we weren't going to let it slide... that's when we started our visits to the Brisbane Royal Children's Hospital."

Most children with Perthes disease eventually recover, but it can take anywhere from two to five years for the femoral head to regenerate.

"Some information says that by the time she hits puberty and stops growing, if it's good by then it will be good forever and if it's not well it won't be good forever," Ms Hema said.

"Our first stage is to get a wheelchair just to keep the weight off her legs - she can't walk, run, jump. She can't really do much of anything.

"We've told her that she needs the wheelchair and her first reaction was, 'As long as it's a pink Barbie one'."

Ms Hema's sister-in-law Jayde Biffin has kicked off fundraising at: www.


 Perthes disease is a disease of the hip joint that tends to affect children between the ages of three and 11.

 Around one in every 4750 children are affected, with boys four times more likely to develop the disease than girls.

 In most cases (87%), only one hip joint is affected.

 Ocean falls within the 13% of cases where children develop the condition in both of their hips.

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