Robbie’s Roar; A little heroes battle for survival
When we heard the story of Robbie and the Buchan family, it hit us close to home. This is the story of Craigie’s own little hero, Robbie Buchan.
The Buchan’s are a Perth family from Craigie. Iain and Desiree, their daughter Luna and son, Robbie. Living a normal happy life, their world was changed forever when Robbie was diagnosed with a rare disease.
At 5 and a half months old, little Robbie Buchan contracted Meningococcal. The rare disease is a potentially devastating infection that can progress rapidly, causing serious disability or death.
The decision was made to amputate all four of Robbie’s limbs to stop the spread and save his life.
Initially admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital, Robbie’s parents were told by Intensive Care Unit consultants that he only had a 50% chance of survival.
They prepared themselves for the worst.
To block the pain of the destruction the meningococcal was causing his body, Robbie was placed in an induced coma and attached to a ventilator. For two months Robbie remained in this state until he was well enough to be transferred onto the Burns Ward under the care of former Australian of the Year, Dr Fiona Wood.
By this time 80% of Robbie’s body was covered in necrotic tissue. For over a year he required daily dressing changes to reduce the risk of infection until the amputation surgery could be performed.
The longest recorded wait time in the world for a meningococcal survivor before having an amputation performed is only 40 days.
Robbie’s amputations didn’t occur for a year.
During the waiting process, doctors learned from Robbie and his ability to heal himself. His experience has changed the medical world for the good, developing new processes that were used for the first time on him.
Robbie spent Christmas and his first birthday in hospital, finally coming home just before his second birthday.
Where are they now
At 5 years old, Robbie recently started school. An incredible achievement after his prognosis years before. His story however, is far from over.
Although Robbie has progressed so much, he still has a long way to go. He continues to face many challenges in his everyday life and basic tasks are a struggle. Having undergone more surgeries than any little boy should have to endure, his medical journey is by no means finished.
He is still waiting on prosthetics to make his life easier and currently gets around with the aid of a wheelchair.
The fight for a free vaccine
On top of everything, Robbie’s parents have led a fight of their own. This one to help Meningococcal suffers all around Australia.
Despite all the challenges, they have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the Meningococcal vaccination. They fought incredibly hard to make Meningococcal ACWY vaccine free as part of the West Australian Immunisation schedule.
In July 2018, their hard work paid off. The vaccine became part of Australia’s National Immunisation program.
Not stopping there, they are still campaigning to make Meningococcal B part of the program.
A story that hit close to home
When we learnt the Buchan family were living in a home that was no longer suitable for Robbie’s situation, we set about seeing how we could help.
See how we transformed the family’s home