The Bourke Family have had more than their fair share of health issues. All of Emma and Craig's 5 children have a rare illness called laryngomalacia and some also have tracheobronchomalacia and laryngeal clefts which mean they have floppy air ways and struggle with sleeping, breathing and even eating. Part of the overarching syndrome means that the children all have significant swallow dysfunction, gastrointestinal issues, oral aversion and joint hypermobility issues. Unlike most children that usually outgrow this condition around the age of 2 some of the children have got progressively worse or not improved at all. As you can imagine with 5 children under the age of 14, it has been an exceedingly difficult journey, and one that is not over.
Between them, they have experienced more than 30 surgical procedures, and many many outpatient and inpatient procedures and tests.
Only this year, four of the youngest children have commenced CPAP overnight to facilitate sleep and to keep their airways open with one of the children requiring CPAP during the day also just to be able to manage school. Multiple hospital stays at Perth Children’s Hospital means that the young family are often apart. As you can imagine, this is extremely difficult for the young family. Emma also suffered with a bilateral pulmonary embolism after the birth of their youngest child Leni, where she nearly lost her life. She was hospitalised herself for over 4 weeks with a newborn baby, with his own ongoing health issues to deal with.
Emma and Craig purchased their home prior to their first-born child with the dream of being able to renovate the property to accommodate a growing family. When Allie was born with these health complications, the focus was on keeping her well and the renovations took a back seat while the family dealt with the rare illnesses. With multiple children with the same illnesses of varying degree arriving soon after Allie, the renovations were never able to be finished by Craig, a carpenter himself, due to the focus being on the health of their children.
They have outgrown their house, a 3-bedroom 1 bathroom to sleep 7 of them, with the boys not having a bedroom to sleep in. It has little storage, and multiple started, but unfinished renovating projects and of most importance, a bathroom that lacks ventilation and is a health hazard for 5 children with such serious respiratory issues. As the family battle yet another serious health situation, one which has led to Emma having to be in Perth with her sick child on and off for weeks on end for the past 9 months, the bank have told the family that they are at risk of losing their home and car due to not being able to afford their mortgage and car repayments, and Craig is now unable to work due to having to look after the remaining 4 children at home, as they are often unable to attend school.