This Christmas, the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation is encouraging Aussies to support those spinal cord injuries, and donate to the world-class Spinal Ward at the Hospital. Boasting over 150 years of care, the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick exists to provide excellent healthcare to south eastern Sydney and specialist health and medical services to NSW. With the Prince of Wales Hospital being only one of two in NSW housing a spinal unit and treatment, their funding is crucial.
The funds donated will go towards vital equipment like Dowing Dynamic Arm Support which enables those with impaired use of their arms to start using the computer again or Unify Beds that aids close support, interaction and connection between patients with limited physical movement and their visitors and therapists. Donations will also allow the Hospital to complete modifications in the ward such as adding bright murals or artwork to lift the spirits of patients or purchasing bar fridges for each bedside so patients can store home-cooked meals and drinks to make their months in Hospital more comfortable.
Andrew Truong experienced first hand the life-changing powers of the Prince of Wales Spinal Unit when he embarked on his long winded journey to eliminate his spinal tumor.
In 2015, active go-getter Andrew began to feel a lot of pain in his neck. Assuming it was a sports injury from the gym, Andrew tried to resolve his aches and pains with physio. When questioned exactly where it hurt by the physio, Andrew says he remembers feeling like it was inside his spine. Following a GP appointment and an MRI scan, at the age of just 26, Andrew was told he had a tumor inside his spinal cord.
After breaking the news to his family, Andrew’s dad organised appointments with multiple neurosurgeons and he clearly remembers one of them saying that they didn’t know how he wasn’t on a breathing tube or a quadriplegic on a ventilator because of the location of the tumor and how big it was. At this point, because the tumor was benign and didn’t seem to be growing quickly, Andrew was still living a normal life and even continued to go on a pre-planned missionary trip to Vietnam and Cambodia to build houses for those less fortunate. It wasn’t until late 2018, that Andrew began to lose feeling in his left leg and knew that the tumor had grown…
Andrew was recommended earlier that year to Dr Jacob Fairhall at the Prince of Wales Hospital because of the long term care he would be able to receive at the Spinal Injury Unit. It was here that he underwent a high risk biopsy operation. When Andrew woke from the operation he couldn’t move his legs. As an inpatient with access to rehab and physiotherapy facilities, Andrew slowly regained strength in his legs and was able to be discharged walking with crutches inside his house and using a wheelchair for larger distances and outdoor trips. However, in November 2019 the tumor had reached 18cm in size, compromising Andrew’s life. If the tumor grew into the brain stem it would be life-threatening for Andrew, yet the operation prognosis was that he’d be on a ventilator and a full quadriplegic.
Defying the odds yet again and after a 12 hour operation to remove the entire tumor, Andrew has regained good function in his arms and is even learning to drive in a modified car. A year on from his major operation where he spent many months in the Spinal Unit recovering, Andrew is thankful for his family and the Prince of Wales Hospital staff - occupational therapists, social workers, nurses and doctors - for helping him to see yet another Christmas.
Thankful for his treatment and care received at the Prince of Wales Hospital, spinal cord injury patient, Andrew Truong is looking forward to spending this Christmas season at home with his loved ones.
Help the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation provide more life changing equipment for spinal patients like Andrew by donating to www.powhf.org.au.
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- Since 23-12-20
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