Destiny’s early years were a blur of doctors, medical diagnoses and hospital stays. Her mum was 22 weeks pregnant when she learned Destiny had Down Syndrome. Her daughter had a massive stroke at birth and developed major heart problems, necessitating a seven-month stay in the Royal Women’s Hospital’s Special Care Unit. Just a few months later Destiny was diagnosed with two types of epilepsy. A bout of pneumonia and bronchitis saw her hospitalised for two years, at which point she was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Destiny’s parents and six siblings have pulled together to care for their precious girl around the clock. Destiny is wheelchair bound, unable to talk, eats via a feeding tube and needs to remain close to power and hospital at all times. As a result the family has have been forced to move house, change schools and limit outings to powered, wheelchair accessible venues close to medical help. Marika and Wayne admit the impact on family life has been pretty profound. “We can’t go camping any more, or even to the local pool,” Marika says. “Destiny needs constant care.”
Brainwave’s free, regular family outings have proved to be a godsend. “We joined Brainwave in 2013 and we all look forward to the break from doctors, hospitals and just thinking about everything,” Marika says. “It’s great for the kids to enjoy some special time of their own and let off steam with other kids. It’s great for us as parents, too. Getting involved with Brainwave has been a real privilege.”