Emmaus College students reach out to help

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Students from Emmaus College raised $6166.25 to assist Filipino teenager Theresa Rosales who came to Australia for life changing surgery.

This amazing cheque was presented to Children First at the College Assembly where Theresa spoke of her experiences.  The 1260 students were spellbound as she told them of her burns and the treatment that followed. She finished by thanking them for helping her and other children. The donation will contribute to Theresa’s continuing treatment and care while she is in Australia.

Theresa, now 18, sustained dreadful burns from a kerosene spill when she was eight years old. She was left dreadfully scarred, with burns contractures that prevented her from lifting her head or raising her arms.

Children First brought her to Australia two years ago to undergo three operations at Concord Hospital in Sydney after she was referred by Interplast Australia & New Zealand. She then came to the Foundation’s Miracle sMiles Retreat in Kilmore where she continued many months of intensive physiotherapy under the guidance of the team at St Vincent’s Private Hospital.  Theresa is now able to hold her head high and lift her arms above her head, impossible before surgery.

Emmaus College Captains, Vice Captains and Social Justice committee visited the Retreat in April to meet Theresa and the other children in our care. They then led the ‘Emmaus Day of Action’ where students paid a fee to wear casual clothes and held food stalls at both campuses to raise money to assist Theresa.

We extend admiration and gratitude to the students and College community for their ongoing commitment to supporting Children First.  Since 2013, Emmaus College students have raised in excess of $20,000 for children in the care of Children First.


After undergoing major surgery in Melbourne twenty year Palestinian Ali Abu Sroor has returned home, now able to do things most of us take for granted.

Melbourne charity Children First Foundation brought Ali to Australia in January 2015 to undergo surgery with leading orthopaedic surgeon Professor Leo Donnan at St Vincent’s Private Hospital, both providing treatment free of charge.

Ali has a condition called familial hypophosphatemic rickets: it’s a hereditary disorder related to low levels of phosphate in the blood. Phosphate is a mineral that is essential for the normal formation of bones and teeth.  In 2013 Professor Donnan operated on Ali’s younger brother Motaz who has the same condition.  Having not seen each other for two years, the brothers spent a week together in Melbourne with Children First before Motaz returned home and Ali’s treatment began.

In Ali’s case bow legs were his most noticeable deformity. His lower legs were positioned at an outward angle, with knees together and his feet a metre apart. These abnormalities become more apparent with weight-bearing activities such as walking and if untreated they worsen with time.  His mobility was being dramatically compromised.

Ali’s surgery took five hours during which frames where attached to his thigh bones near the knees and the bone divided. “The deformity in his legs was corrected over a number of weeks using a computer program,” said Dr Donnan, “During this time bone was stimulated to form and realign his severely bent limbs.”

Ali then learnt to walk in the frames and once the bone was solid enough the frames were removed.

In consultation with Professor Donnan the physiotherapy team at St Vincent’s designed a program to suit his particular needs. Physio sessions began while wearing the frames, and continued when removed, and included swimming, regular walks carrying weights, and sessions to help flexibility in his knees and ankles.

Ali has worked hard because he had some goals: walking and running are priorities. Just as importantly he wants to be able to kneel for prayer, to kneel to enjoy a meal with his family in their customary fashion.  He wants to be able to board the bus so he can return to University – there’s no disabled public transport in Palestine.

Ali said he never believed doctors could make his legs straight: he thought ‘only God could do that’.

In a heartfelt farewell message, he wrote “…thanks to the amazing Professor Leo Donnan, wonderful volunteers, great physio team…thank you for allowing me to be part of this beautiful family…God bless you all.”

31 May 2016