Counting the personal cost of living with wounds: Wound Champion Mia-Rose Etita's story
Sunday, September 3
Ten-year-old Mia-Rose Etita was born with a rare form of lymphoedema, a condition causing leg swelling that requires constant care and attention, and frequent medical intervention. It results in recurring wounds that are painful and uncomfortable, and have a significant impact on this little girl’s life.
Mia-Rose is too embarrassed about her wounds to wear dresses or other clothing that exposes her legs, and finding suitable shoes is a challenge – one that has crushed her dream of taking up ballet. This social anxiety has limited her self-expression and her participation in activities she once enjoyed.
Financial costs increase as Mia-Rose growsMia-Rose’s ongoing care puts a huge financial strain on the family too. She has regular appointments at Westmead Children’s Hospital, where her condition is reviewed. Each visit means a four-hour round trip, a costly and time-consuming journey that disrupts the family’s routine and is taxing on Mia-Rose. The compression garments – the RIGHT treatment for Mia-Rose’s needs – are expensive, too. Each new set can cost in the hundreds of dollars and need updating as Mia-Rose grows.
Mia-Rose’s mother Candice Etita is a disability care manager. She says that increased funding for wound care would help families like hers better manage the challenges of her daughter’s condition – and dramatically improve the quality of life for children like Mia-Rose.
“There’s a ‘one size fits all’ approach to wound care garments that just doesn’t work for children like Mia-Rose,” Candice says. “We would love to see more innovation in designing compression garments and shoes suited to the kind of activities – like ballet – that children want to get involved in.
“It would make a huge difference in Mia-Rose’s life and make her feel less self-conscious about doing the things her friends are doing.”
Candice Etita is available for interview from Wollongong.