Doing it for Grandma!
It was just like any other September weekend. The sun was shining, kids were filling the fields busily preparing for their next game, families were going about their typical weekend chores and duties, shopping, birthday parties, swimming lessons…..just an ordinary weekend like the many before them; but not for two Glenmore Park brothers, Flynn (11) and Kobhi (8).
In May this year their beautiful and courageous Grandma was taken too soon, after years battling bad health. Her story is one that still hurts their hearts to tell. Aged only 67, Grandma (Wendy Frame) who was also a long time Glenmore Park resident, battled a steep decline in health after contracting Wegener’s disease in 2003. From here she was fighting an uphill battle. Long days of dialysis eventually led to a kidney transplant; multiple medications; health and dietary lifestyle changes; ups/downs; regular medical appointments and sporadic stays in hospital.
Like most grandchildren, Flynn and Kobhi were her absolute everything; and she was theirs!
After surgery in 2010 to help restore the blood flow to her new kidney, which was slowly rejecting; Wendy was hospitalised in a coma for 4 weeks. To say it was a difficult time, is an understatement – but her strength amazed everyone around her; and that Christmas the family were all treasuring special moments together at home; counting their blessings to be together again – with their strong, determined and precious Grandma.
The boys spent many valuable moments with their Grandma over the years. If they weren’t at home, you could bet your bottom dollar they were at Grandma’s. Grandma’s house was a second home, always with the best home-cooking, warmest of beds, spectacular play-room, outside play area and a love like no other!
In 2014, Grandma faced another diagnosis. This time she was told she had fibrosis of the lungs, a possible side-effect to another medication used early on. Her background of being a nurse and carer, seemed to bring with her this ability to rise to each challenge and keep going.
With a 49 year old daughter (Margret) with a lifelong disability, Cerebral Palsy and an intellectual age of 7; Wendy had always cared for others. There was no time for her to dwell or have self-pity. She was strong, determined, driven and not giving in.
In 2017, she complained of breathlessness, something that would come and go on exertion; but now it was more regular and ongoing; even at rest. After a series of tests, it was discovered her fibrosis had progressed. The cause was unknown and she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Despite now being tied to an oxygen machine 24 hours a day, with increasing reliance growing from 2 litres per minute to 15 in less than a year; it was obvious the boys brought her joy and removed her from the darkness and isolation that came with her condition.
The weekend of the 15th/16th of September had been marked on their calendar for months. In fact, while it seemed so far away, it appeared to sneak up on them unaware. They would host a Garage Sale in honour of their late Grandma, one where they could spread awareness and pay forward a donation to the Lung Foundation to help other families and patients suffering the same debilitating condition and journey that their Grandma had faced.
With a long day of preparations on the Saturday, followed by an early rise with the birds on the Sunday. The boys would have made their Grandma proud. The turnout was spectacular, items swiftly sold, with plenty of bargains to be had. Both strangers and special friends came by the bus-load to honour a woman who forever gave and never ever gave up. Sales of over $1000 and a donation of 10% to the lung foundation, was the icing on the cake!
The brothers have every intention to keep Grandma’s memory alive and continue to raise funds for the Lung Foundation with repeat sales in the near future; in the hope they can make someone else’s journey easier or less isolating. “I just hope no-one else suffers like my Grandma did” said Kobhi.
Survived by her husband, loving daughters and grandchildren, Wendy will live on in their hearts forever.
Since May, Flynn and Kobhi have adapted to a new ‘normal’ with their Aunty Margret now living with them. They have a new found appreciation for family and people with disabilities. Through loss we grow and find strength.
For more information or support regarding IPF or other Lung Conditions, contact the Lung Foundation Australia on 1800 654 301 or join our FB support group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/203287517211000/