South West teen face of Perth hospital’s appeal

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Bunbury teenager Joel Schaeche-Odine is the face of the 2018 Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Breathe Easy Christmas appeal.
Camera IconBunbury teenager Joel Schaeche-Odine is the face of the 2018 Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Breathe Easy Christmas appeal. Credit: South Western Times/Bunbury Herald, Jon Gellweiler

At just two weeks old, Joel Schaeche-Odine was diagnosed with the life-threatening condition cystic fibrosis, an inherited genetic disorder affecting breathing, digestion that reduces life expectancy to about 36 years.

The Bunbury 16-year-old, a regular visitor to Princess Margaret Hospital and now the Perth Children’s Hospital, hopes the community will dig deep during the festive season, after becoming the face of the hospital foundation’s Breath Easy Christmas Appeal.

Proceeds received will fund critical research and specialised training, as well as the provision of life-saving equipment and improved ways of supporting the mental health of children throughout WA with respiratory diseases.

Money would assist the development of a smartphone app to support the social development and mental health of young people with the condition, who cannot meet with others with cystic fibrosis due to the high risk of cross infection.

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“I can’t mingle with other kids with cystic fibrosis, so this app will be able to help me socialise with other kids online, so we are not a direct medical threat to each other,” Joel said.

“I will be able to keep in good contact with my best friends Mark and Dylan who I can’t spend time with in person.

“Please help me support Perth Children’s Hospital, who has supported me since I was a baby.”

Joel Schaeche-Odine
Camera IconJoel Schaeche-Odine Credit: Jon Gellweiler

Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation chief executive, Carrick Robinson says the fundraising body was immensely grateful to the Foundation’s compassionate donors throughout the community for their support.

“One in five children in Western Australia has a respiratory disease and, significantly, it’s the leading cause of hospitalisation for children under the age of four which is why, with the assistance of our supporters, we want to do more to help children with conditions including asthma, bronchitis, chronic lung disease and cystic fibrosis,” he said.

“Our work is ongoing and there is so much more we want to do to help young patients with respiratory disease, so we’d urge the WA community to help us help youngsters like Joel, by donating to our Christmas appeal.”

Visit donate.pchf.org.au/.

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