Martin's Race for Grace

3 November 2022 | Expected time to read: 3 minutes

Martin and Orlando

Meet Martin – one very proud grandfather joining our Race for Grace this November.  

On Thursday 17 November 2022, Martin will ride 11 hours non-stop to try and raise over $10,000 for the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead! Like many of our supporters, his ride is dedicated to one very special little boy in his life – his grandson, Orlando.  

In 2018, Martin and his family’s excitement for their first grandchild soon turned into fear when they heard two-day-old Orlando needed to be transferred to the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care for specialised care. 

Orlando was born with a hole in his diaphragm - a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Orlando’s stomach and bowel pushed through this hole and moved into his chest cavity, compressing his lungs and restricting his breathing. He also had two holes in his heart.

Newborn Orlando in the Grace Centre
Orlando in the Grace Centre

“It was the toughest, most heart wrenching experience for my family,” recalls Martin. 

Martin’s daughter had one goal in sight – to have Orlando home by Mothers’ Day.  

Although their journey was a roller coaster, the incredible staff at the Grace Centre made sure Orlando received the very best care, and also gave Tammara and John an invaluable role to play in his recovering, ensuring they could bond with their newborn every step of the way. 

“The doctors and nurses involved Tammara and John in Orlando’s care as much as possible, from bathing him to holding him and reading books. They made journals, wrote about his day and took photos of him. They allowed them to add special personal touches to his bedside and bring things from home that made it feel less like a hospital,” says Martin. 

50 days and three life-saving surgeries later, Tammara received her wish and Orlando was discharged from hospital six days before Mothers’ Day! 

Orlando at preschool
Orlando playing with toys

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Now four years old, the happy preschooler is home where he belongs, spending time just being a kid.  

“We’ll always be grateful for the extraordinary care of the Grace Centre and we try to give back in any way we can. We have no doubt that he would not be here today if it was not for them,” says Martin. 

Registrations for this year’s Race for Grace are still open. Visit raceforgrace.com.au and sign up today to help other families like Martin’s continue to receive the best possible care, when and where they need it.  

“If you have never used the Grace Centre, you never know, one of your family members may need them one day.”

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