COUNTRY dad Steven Fallon goes the distance for his sick little girl, but wishes she had the same chances as city kids.
Termeil’s trooper single dad has been Tiyanah’s champion through heart and digestive surgery and on countless trips north to hospitals and specialists.
The two-year old was born with an undiagnosed syndrome, which means she has no finger or toe tips and has serious medical issues, including difficulty swallowing.
Yet, last week, her smile could not have been bigger when she visited Batemans Bay for the monthly group therapy session she loves.
The Speccy Kids group is also the kind of service her dad would smile to see more of.
Mr Fallon has backed the call for a one-stop shop in the Eurobodalla for children aged from birth to 18 and their families, providing early intervention and a raft of therapies.
“It would be great,” he said.
“Tiyanah has had open heart surgery, she had a GPI (surgery to help her swallow), and she has a feeding peg in her stomach,” Mr Fallon said.
For the first months of Tiyanah’s life, Mr Fallon was perpetually on the road.
“We got a lot of help from a paediatrician in Nowra,” Mr Fallon said.
“We were up to see him every two weeks and we had to drive to hospital twice a week for blood tests.
“Every day I was travelling. Basically, except Sunday, for the first eight months of her life.”
Now, with the intensity of surgery and medical appointments reduced, it is ongoing therapy and social interaction Tiyanah needs.
Mr Fallon said Speccy Kids sessions with speech pathologist Vivienne Freestone were invaluable.
With two other parents, Mr Fallon pays privately for the therapy.
“Tiyanah has really benefited from it and she has little friends her now,” Mr Fallon said.
“She has come so far and learnt so much.
“Viv has helped so much with her speech and eating.
“Before, Tiyanah could not eat anything.
“You could not even touch her lips or her mouth.
“She would just gag and throw up.
“Now she can eat stuff with lumps in it.”
On Tuesday, Bega MP Andrew Constance called on Eurobodalla Shire Council to provide land for a purpose-built facility for the recently formed Eurobodalla Education and Therapy Services committee, also known as Muddly Puddles.
Mr Constance said a grant of land would allow the state to make “a significant contribution” to capital costs and ongoing funding.