Family is Always Family

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We’re always happy to hear stories from our kids who have returned home and are enjoying doing the things they love – particularly if they couldn’t do them before their surgery. We might, however, make an exception to this rule for Koko!

Koko when he arrived in 2015

Koko spent 12 months with us in 2015, when he underwent complex orthopaedic surgery followed by extensive physiotherapy to correct a 90-degree bend in his lower leg. The original injury which occurred when Koko was just two years old, made it difficult for him to walk, let alone play basketball.

After his first surgery

Fully recovered and playing his beloved basketball at home with Daniel in February, Koko jumped and suddenly it all went wrong! “I just forgot to land on the other leg, before I knew it – it was too late”, Koko explains. One broken prosthetic rod and one emergency call to the amazing A/Prof Leo Donnan – before he knew it, Koko was back at The Retreat and waiting for surgery.

Who is this grown up young man?

Replacing the specialist rod that was holding Koko’s injured leg in place, was something that couldn’t be done in PNG. X-rays showed that because Koko was so tall now, he had outgrown the inserts in his leg. As Koko is still developing, he needed a longer rod, nail and plate inserted over his growth plates. After a successful surgery to insert these in early March, Koko is happily speeding about The Retreat on crutches with a fibre glass caste on his leg.

Back on crutches but still smiling

We know that Koko realises how lucky he is to be part of the Children First Family and to have amazing people like A/Prof Donnan in his corner. We are delighted to see the young man he has become. Quite different from the cheeky boy who climbed out his window and hid in the barn five years ago! The new and mature Koko has taken over tending to the chickens, enjoys helping with the laundry, and is becoming a master chef. We know for sure, he will be taking extra care on the basketball court when he returns home. We may have to remind Daniel too – A/Prof Donnan does not want to see him in surgery again! 

If you’d like to help more children like Koko access surgery and treatment that will transform their lives, please donate today.


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