Jen’s journey with Finn
Tell us a bit about your family?
We are Waikato dairy farmers raising 4 kids, Ollie (9) Finn (8) Maddy (5) and Levi (4). We spend our days milking cows in a beautiful piece of New Zealand, with our hounds, cats, chooks, pigs and cows… lots of cows. Weekends involve driving all over the Waikato watching our kids ride their motorbikes, a sport that we have almost all 4 doing now! Our life revolves around motorcross. Finn was born with a condition known as hypoplastic right heart, there is no cure.
How did you get involved with Cure Kids?
When Finn was 5 years old a good friend of mine, introduced me to Cure Kids and what the charity is all about, Finn and me were sent on a once in a lifetime trip to Queenstown where we met other families with kiddies facing lifelong illness, these kids and their families have become like another family to ours now, Our ‘Cure Kids family’ for which I will always be grateful for.
What has been the most challenging part of this journey?
The unknown, the longing for Finn to grow up living his life without limitations, the chance that he might not get this opportunity. Every year that he grows older you are so proud, but also so scared for the fact that as he grows older his heart, his body, has to work harder everyday to just function. You do what you have to do and push it to one side and hold your head high and keep going, why? Because that’s what he does everyday.
How has it impacted your family and life?
Honestly life has been hard, I would be lying if I said otherwise. The first 6 years were a haze of hospital, surgery, trying to be “normal”. These last few years I feel like we have gained some control back, it’s a weird thing to say but it’s like you live in a bubble when you have a sick child, everything around you becomes a routine of hospitals, bugs, weight gains, is he too blue, is he getting sick, new meds, doctors, you go into survival mode, so these last few years have been somewhat “normal“. Finn has had his challenges, there have been plenty, but he is living the best life we can give him, my focus has always been that Finn wasn’t allowed to be the “sick” kid, if we were to lose him, then he would have lived the best life we could have given him, with no limitations, I proud to say we are still living by this.
Your family, and Finn are so brave, how do you stay strong through the toughest of times?
I guess we hold on to hope, that Finn was given to us for a reason, to show people that life is so precious, that family is so important and good friends.
A lot of people are scared to get to know us, for the fact we may lose Finn, and over the years we have lost a lot of friends because of this, you learn pretty quick on a journey like this who are your true friends and how much you need them. They are our strength, what keeps us going when times are so darn unfair.
What is the most important thing for your family?
Our kids, giving these four kids the best life we can, showing them you can be anything you want to be, teaching them to be humble, to be kind, that lifes too short to be anything but happy.
If you could have one wish this Christmas, what would it be?
For rain, we need some rain! Haha ( dairy farmer).
Seriously though I wish that life would get a little be easier for us, we have had one hell of a year, and I think we are all in need of some R&R.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other parents / families going through a similar thing?
Talk! There are so many of us going through journeys like ours, if we all talk, our story might just save another, or help another mum devastated she cant feed her baby because their heart is too weak, I wish I had social media back when Finn was a baby, I think it is a huge tool for families with sick kids.
Keep fighting, so many times if I had given up we would have lost Finn, keep challenging the doctors after all if we don’t as parents then they will never keep learning.
The most important thing I have learned is that as a mum, YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD BEST! This seems simple but honestly this is huge, and the most crucial part to being a mum to a sick child, keep that fire going in your belly, if your gut says something’s wrong, chances are you’ll be right. From one mum to another, Your doing an awesome job, don’t stop being you, being a mum is one of the hardest jobs on the earth, just smile and be glad on those hard days that we get to be mums to these pretty spectacular kids, I know I do.