Rotary Club of Blacktown City

Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children – Patient Updates


Apakuki was first referred to ROMAC in 2020 with symptoms of Congenital Cyanotic Heart Disease. This is as a result of a heart defect present at birth that reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the body.

In 2020, New Zealand was not allowing access to any international patients. Leap to October 2022 and Starship Hospital in Auckland were still not able to accept patients due to the impact of COVID on staffing and theatre resources.

Apakuki was reviewed again in March 2023 and the process of his treatment in New Zealand recommenced. He arrived with his mother Litea on 23 April 2023. Apakuki had to be treated in Auckland Hospital, not Starship, because, due to the delay in his arrival, he had reached the age of 16 years.

After a period of treatment for a chest infection, Apakuki underwent surgery in early June and has recently been discharged to Ronald McDonald House where he is making a great recovery and actively participating in the hospital school. Doctors are very happy with his progress and are anticipating he will be winging his way home within the next three weeks.


Nine-month-old baby Taufa and his mother Kalesita from Tonga arrived in Auckland in the very early hours of 19 March. Taufa was very unwell with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. This is a combination of four congenital heart defects usually resulting in a lack of oxygen-rich blood reaching the body.

The family was met by Rotary Liaison Barbara Watt and immediately transferred to and settled into Ronald McDonald House. Dad, Taufa Snr, arrived from New Caledonia where he was working and immediately baby was much happier. It was obvious that this child really adored his Dad. 

Surgery took place on 24 March, with a few days were spent in Paediatric Intensive Care and then he was discharged to a ward. Once back at Ronald McDonald House, the family were together and supporting each other and extended family members in Auckland visited.

Kalesita and Taufa Snr were sensible parents who were so very grateful for all that was done for their son. Dad returned home and Mum and baby followed on 3 May. Another successful outcome for ROMAC, a happy healthy baby and extremely grateful parents.


Nine-year-old Ephraim is continuing to do really well at the hospital school while staying with Mum Priya and Dad Ben at Ronald McDonald House Westmead Children’s Hospital. He attended the eye clinic at the Children’s Hospital Westmead last month for a post operative consultation after his Cataract surgery in May.

Doctors were happy with Ephraim’s progress and prescribed glasses to help him see more clearly and will review his progress at the eye clinic in July. On Friday Ephraim received his new glasses. What a great sight!


While visiting grand-daughter at the Sydney Children’s Hospital this month, Past ROMAC Chair Rob Wilkinson met 14-year-old Senri Tengata from the Solomon Islands. 

As often happens in the Solomons, Senri and his friends had come across some old war-time devices, and one of the hand-grenades exploded and severely injured his hand! Over time, and many visits to hospitals in Brisbane and Sydney, courtesy of ROMAC, the surgeons have grafted a lot of skin, and are gradually re-building a useful hand.

Senri told Rob he is a very keen footballer, and wants to be a goalkeeper. Rob asked his son Alex Wilkinson, a retired professional footballer with Sydney Football Club, to get in touch with Andrew Redmayne, Sydney FC and Socceroos goalkeeper.

They had a keeper’s jersey signed and Rob presented it to Senri at the hospital. Rob also gave him a photo of Andrew, just in case he and his family weren’t sure of who it was coming from. However, Senri immediately recognised the photo! Senri’s first comment was “Can’t wait to show my coach!” No doubt, there will be some new Sydney FC supporters in the Solomons this year!!

Rotary Club of Blacktown City Inc

Address: PO Box 12, Blacktown, NSW 2148

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