Thousands of feet in the air, Elsie Bennett was safely brought home to family and friends following a scary health ordeal.
Elsie, the daughter of Lloyd and Sarah Bennett of Wee Waa, developed a condition called functional neurological disorder after getting a staph infection in her leg.
She was taken to hospital in Tamworth and then to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.
Elsie put on a brave face throughout her time away from home as she dealt with tests and recovery from what became a painful situation that affected her mobility.
She had suffered something similar in 2019 when she also developed a staph infection in her leg.
Elsie woke up one night in pain.
That time, she developed complex regional pain syndrome.
Elsie’s mum, Sarah, said the pain spread throughout her daughter’s body.
The recent health crisis occured in the lead-up to Christmas and saw Elsie treated in Newcastle at the hospital and staying at Ronald McDonald House.
Part of Elsie’s condition meant that she had difficulty sitting up and initially was unable to walk.
Her mobility challenges made it difficult for the return journey home which is where an organisation called Little Wings stepped in to safely fly Elsie and her dad, Lloyd, back to Narrabri.
The two were greeted by family as they landed at the airport.
Little Wings provides free transport for seriously ill chidren and Elsie’s journey was funded by the Narrabri RSL.
The not-for-profit organisation provides ground transport in addition to flights to regional areas.
Children are referred to Little Wings by hospital staff with the child’s medical condition, location and regularity of travel taken into consideration.
Official partners and supporters make the journeys to remote NSW possible.
The service is also made possible by a team of volunteer pilots and drivers.
Elsie’s flight before Christmas last year was one to remember as it was her first time in the skies.
“I loved it. It was like a roller coaster,” she told the Wee Waa News.
“We just got passed a storm.
“I wanted to open the window and see if the clouds felt like fairy floss.”
While Elsie still sees a specialist, she has made a remarkable recovery.
She has been able to return to Namoi Valley Christian School and have fun with her classmates.
Elsie has also enjoyed being able to do the activities she loves including bike riding, swimming and scooter riding.
Her family is incredibly grateful for the support it has received from the community as well as important services such as Little Wings and Ronald McDonald House.
“In Ronald McDonald House, we were with other families from country areas,” Sarah said.
“It was a home away from home.”
“I don’t know what we would’ve done if we couldn’t have stayed at Ronald McDonald House.
“Elsie was very brave. She stayed in hospital the entire time by herself.”
She said the flight service by Little Wings eased the burden of transport for the family.
“We have a lot of gratitude for services like Little Wings.”
Elsie was thankful for the facilities at Ronald McDonald House and the activities on offer.
“There is a big soccer field,” Elsie said.
“They have a playground as well.”To order photos from this page click here