Milestone Day for Riley’s little sister

Milestone days are always the toughest and yesterday was emotionally challenging. We took this little superhero to go and get her 6 month vaccinations. She was a gem, we had no complications and we can now say she’s made it through a particularly fragile time of her life.

What hurts is that these are needles her brother should’ve lived to see, this is protection he should’ve already received and this is now a time where we should be planning and preparing for his 2nd Birthday a little over two weeks from now. Instead we’re a family that no matter how hard we try, will forever be left with an enormous hole that can never be filled.

This next 2 month window is tinged with sadness at a time where we should be celebrating. Riley’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, and Catherine’s birthday all fall within such a short period of time. The fact that Riley’s passing falls smack bang in the middle of it all means each one of these occasions is now bittersweet.

We’re a family who has felt the impact of vaccine preventable disease and it changes the fabric of how you live your life. Get your maternal booster, make sure your children follow the childhood immunisation schedule and avoid the bittersweet days.

Trust me, they’re not fun.

-Riley’s Dad

Doctors urge parents to vaccinate after confirmed cases of Measles in WA

Several babies in Western Australia have been infected by measles after a “non-vaccinating” family brought the preventable disease back from Bali.

This latest instance is another example of when parents choose not to vaccinate, they are choosing to risk the lives of not only their own children, but babies too young to be vaccinated, and other vulnerable members of our community.

As quoted in a recent edition of The West Australian newspaper a family who had not immunised their three children returned from a Bali holiday with one of their children infected with measles resulting in an increase in the confirmed cases of measles in infants in the area.

“People wonder why we get so concerned by small numbers of cases like this but this is exactly how a bushfire starts,” commented President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Andrew Miller said to the newspaper.

“Unvaccinated families are essentially walking around our cities in summer throwing matches into dry grass, and suddenly you can get a wild fire that destroys lives.

“It’s either out of laziness or because they’re reading strange things on the internet instead of listening to the real experts.”

Babies are not vaccinated against measles until they are 12 months old. Please do your bit to help protect them

Source: thewest.com.au

Jasmine’s Story – Pneumococcal Disease

Jasmine’s Story – As told by her mother Andrea Identical twins Gabrielle and Jasmine were delivered on Christmas Eve 2002. Their long term survival was questionable from day one. They both had heart defects and severe respiratory problems, however most devastatingly they were both found to be suffering from congenital bone marrow failure disease. I […]

Vaccine Needle

Catherine Hughes celebrates news of WA vaccination rates

Catherine Hughes expressed her recent joy on the news that her home state of Western Australia can now boast one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world.

The passing of her baby boy Riley, from the vaccine preventable disease Pertussis (whooping cough) made headlines around the world through her and her husbands fierce campaigning to educate parents and expectant mothers against the dangers of choosing not to vaccinate.

The campaigning created huge momentum through their social media page Light For Riley and resulted in several changes being made at both state and federal levels.

Since Riley’s unnecessary passing from the disease the federal government implemented their ‘No jab No pay’ legislation withdrawing government benefits to those parents who choose not vaccinate.  In addition to this the Hughes family experienced one of the biggest triumphs in their plight which was to ensure that the Whooping Cough vaccine was readily available and free to pregnant women.

Catherine reflects on these milestones and the exciting news that Western Australia is leading the way in stomping out vaccine preventable diseases through immunisation.

Read the full article here: Catherine Hughes speaks to The West Australian about Success for Free Whopping Cough Vaccine

Catherine Hughes interview for The West Australian. Photo Credit: Ross Swanborough, The West Australian

South Australia proposes review into immunisation and childcare

South Australia’s health minister, Mr Jack Snelling is proposing a law to give childcare centres the power to refuse unvaccinated children.

This would mean that at particular childcare centres, parents could be confident their baby/toddler is better protected from preventable diseases such as measles, rubella, meningococcal and whooping cough.

The suggested review of the new legislation for childcare centres comes off the back of a 300% increase of confirmed measles cases in Gawler. This in conjunction with figures being released identifying that South Australia’s immunisation rate is below 95%.  95% is the official rate required for residents to be vaccinated in order to protect the surrounding community and prevent outbreaks of disease.

New South Wales and Victoria have already enforced legislation preventing parents from enrolling their child into a childcare centre if they are unable to provide current immunisation records or an approved exemption.

The proposed legislation that the South Australian Health Minister is considering at this stage is more-so protecting childcare centres against lawsuits by giving them the right to refuse a child’s enrollment on the basis of the child not being immunised.

 

Welcome to the official launch of the IFA and our new website!

Today we are incredibly honoured and excited to officially launch our foundation, the Immunisation Foundation of Australia. When Riley passed away at 32 days old from whooping cough, we were distraught but determined to honour his short little life by making a positive change in our country. We firmly believe that no child in Australia, if not the world, should die from any disease that is easily prevented by a simple vaccine.

If you would like to make a contribution to help us raise awareness about vaccine-preventable diseases and the importance of immunisation, donations can now be made by clicking the link below: https://www.immunisationfoundation.org.au/donations/

We are so grateful for any support and are so hopeful that our foundation will help to improve and save the lives of babies and children.

If you would like to read more about our vision, mission & purposes, please see here: https://www.immunisationfoundation.org.au/about-ifa/

From our whole family – thank you so much for all your support. It is so sincerely appreciated, from the bottom of our hearts!

– Catherine, Greg & family.

Greg and Catherine Hughes on Sunday Night program

Greg and Catherine Hughs have taken part in a story on 7’s ‘Sunday Night‘ program this weekend to raise awareness about whooping cough and vaccination. “We had their cameras with us as we welcomed Riley’s new baby sister to the world – a really strange & emotional experience but hopefully all worthwhile!”

Please tune in this Sunday night, 11th of September and share this journey with the Hughes family as they continue to promote the message of the importance of immunisation against vaccine preventable diseases.

 

 

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Olivia’s Story – Whooping Cough

My daughter was just 3 weeks old when she had a runny nose and sneeze, with mildly not wanting feeds as much. This went on for a few days but I knew the early symptoms of whooping cough (thanks to light for Riley) so I took her to the doctor, the doctor didn’t want to swab her stating she was very healthy but I insisted and had to convince the doctor to do a swab. Overnight she got dramatically worse, her nose was completely blocked, she wouldn’t take feeds, mild cough, sneezing all the time, and was so tired and fatigued.

The next morning we got the call that the test was positive – my daughter had whooping cough, and she was admitted to hospital. At the hospital we were warned this could be a long haul, and they just didn’t know what would happen with my daughter being so small and how she would cope with the disease. Well, thanks to catching it early and the pregnancy booster my daughter never even got the horrible whooping cough, ‘cough’ and never even required oxygen in hospital. One of the doctors said they had never seen such a young baby fight it so amazingly well, with the nurses saying that they had never seen a baby cope so well. We left hospital when she was 4 weeks old after only a 3 day stay. She is now a healthy 6 month old.

I can honestly say if I hadn’t had my pregnancy booster or caught whooping cough early my daughter might not be here with us today. Early intervention and immunisations DO help.

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Catherine Hughes Nominated for Women of the Future Award

Last year Australia embraced and supported Catherine and Greg Hughes as they mourned the loss of their baby boy Riley.  Riley contracted whooping cough and despite the hospital staffs best efforts and Riley’s fight, he passed away at 32 days old from the disease.

In tribute to their son Riley and in testament to their strength, Greg and Catherine set up the Light for Riley campaign to share their story and more importantly, raise awareness to the importance of immunisation in children and adults alike.

Their determination paid off with meetings with ministers, health officials and the support of a nation. In addition to the No Jab No Pay legislation being introduced shortly after Riley’s passing, Catherine has raised over $75,000 for research and donated over 100,000 vaccines.

In addition to being a truly amazing woman, we congratulate Catherine on making the semi-finalist of the 2016 Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future Award.

We encourage you to vote for this incredible individual who has been a role model to us all that in the face of adversity and personal tragedy, greatness can come.

Watch Catherine’s video here

 

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Jazmyn’s Story – Meningococcal disease

On Tuesday 25th August Jazmyn was a bright bubbly happy little girl, but at 10pm that night things took a turn in a direction that no one could have seen coming. It started with flu like symptoms and a high temp, which we thought nothing off at the time due to the rest of the family suffering from influenza B. On Wednesday morning Sarah was getting the girls ready for school drop off, and upon waking Jaz noticed her discomfort with touching her legs, and observed a heat like rash. The next step saved our little girls life, as Sarah decided to see the Drs just to be on the safe side. Upon observation of Jazmyn by the doctor a small pin prick sized mark was noticed, and during the examination time a second mark presented, causing extra concern. The doctor immediately sent Jaz to hospital for monitoring, the second step that saved her life.

During the next few hrs Jazmyn deteriorated rapidly and after a small “fit” episode around 1pm her condition spiralled. A purple patchy rash developed very rapidly all over her legs and arms and she was in extreme discomfort. During this time the doctor had been in touch with PICU at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and discussed the best course of action with the suspicion being a strain of the meningococcal disease. It was organised to air lift her to the WCH in Adelaide for intensive care. The incredible Med Star team arrived at 4:30 and she was in the air at 6:30.

Our worst fears were confirmed Friday morning via blood tests that Jazmyn was indeed suffering from the meningococcal B type disease, the most aggressive and dangerous type of meningococcal.

It is only due to a mother’s intuition and knowledge of her kids, and the amazing doctor that detected the slight symptoms and reacted with immediate action that contributed to Jazmyn being alive today. Thanks also must go to the incredible Med Star team and the amazing doctors and nurses from PICU and medical ward 1 at WCH to the continued support, advice and encouragement through the this ordeal.

We cannot urge the importance for all parents to be vigilant and seek medical attention if any of the meningococcal symptoms present themselves, early action and treatment is the number one factor to save your child’s life.

 

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