Life was a struggle from the day Reedly was born in March 2000 in Vanuatu. He had Hirschsprung’s Disease, which meant he was missing nerve cells in part of his colon.
He suffered from a congenital partial large bowel obstruction, could not pass stools and was in constant pain. As he grew, he had no energy to join in play with other young boys. His mother could only feed him pureed or liquid food. He had a grossly distended abdomen with thin wasted arms and legs.
Reedly’s mother, Juliette, had 4 other children to look after as well her only son and she worried constantly about him and his future. Fortunately, nurse educators from Sydney Catholic University, who were visiting Vanuatu with students, learnt of Reedly’s situation and referred him to ROMAC.
He was accepted by ROMAC for medical treatment in Australia. At 14 years of age, Reedly boarded a plane with his mother for the first time and flew to Canberra to be met by Sandra Goldstraw and Yvonne Robson from ROMAC.
In April 2014 Reedly was admitted to Canberra Centennial Hospital for Women and Children, weighing only 27.5kg. Paediatric surgeon Professor David Croaker performed an operation to remove the obstruction and to create a temporary colostomy through an opening (stoma) so that his bowel could rest. At the same time, an oral maxillofacial surgeon corrected Reedly’s protruding front teeth.
Reedly lost 6kg through the operation and needed building up as his arms and legs were so wasted. The medical team provided stoma education and a suitcase full of donated stoma products to last until Reedly returned to Canberra.
The following year 2015, Reedly returned to Canberra, with Juliette, to have his stoma closed by Professor Croaker. He went home to Vanuatu healthy and ready to live a normal life.
Five years later in 2019, Reedly graduated from college in Vanuatu, a proud day for his mother. Today, he is 22 years old and lives a happy and healthy life with his family, thanks to the care of Professor Croaker and his medical team, and the ROMAC team who supported and facilitated his transformation.