Tiahn’s 230-night stay in hospital

1 March 2024 | Expected time to read: 4 minutes

While most 17-year-old's celebrate the new-found freedom of earning their provisional license, Tiahn spent over 230 days in hospital recovering from two major abdominal surgeries.

Born with a chronic condition called gastroparesis, Tiahn’s muscles around her stomach are too weak to process food normally. This means she spends 18 hours every day connected to a pump, so she can receive the nutrients and hydration her body needs through a nasogastric tube.

The reality is that for Tiahn, the pain of eating a burger from the local food court with friends simply isn’t worth it. She can’t enjoy a birthday cake or Christmas dinner. Yet despite all the challenges Tiahn has and continues to face, she remains her bubbly and vibrant self.

Tiahn smiles in hospital bed while signalling thumbs up

In 2022, Tiahn had two major operations to fix her compressed small intestine. Her seven-month recovery on the Wade Ward at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead was long and hard. But during her stay, Tiahn remained positive and made the most of the small moments - always having a chat with those around her and dressing up as Eleven from Stranger Things for the hospital’s annual Party Day.

Tiahn says, “The nurses on Wade Ward were truly the best part of my experience. I will never forget when the Nurse Unit Manager, Gabi, organised a surprise message from the cast of my favourite musical, The Phantom of the Opera. It’s one of my favourite memories and made my year.’’

While Tiahn’s journey has been challenging and is ongoing, she is incredibly grateful to have the support of her family and the  incredible gastroenterology department.

It’s thanks to the generosity of the Movement of Many that last financial year, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation (SCHF) was able to fund the 12-month positions of six new staff in the gastroenterology department at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The kindness of people like you helps more kids with chronic gastro conditions, like Tiahn, receive the ongoing and extraordinary care they need.

Now, SCHF is calling on the support of the Movement of Many to raise more vital funds for a state-wide motility service that will help ensure kids like Tiahn, receive the specialised care they need, no matter where and no matter what.

For many children across NSW like Tiahn, finding out the reason why they're experiencing tummy pain is a challenge. With your help, SCHF can help expand testing services from one hospital to three. This means your donation today could help more kids receive a diagnosis and the care they need faster.

No child should ever experience chronic pain but those who do deserve our all.

Tiahn and her family smile at the camera.

Tiahn's resilience and positive attitude makes her an inspiration to everyone around her – from friends and family to even her doctors and nurses. She is passionate about telling her story to educate the community about chronic conditions and support those going through a similar healthcare journey.

“To the community, if you see someone in the public with a medical device or any problem, it’s okay to be curious, but don’t point and stare. I hope the wider community can become more educated about medical devices and the help they provide people like me.”

‘’And to those going through a similar experience, advocate for yourself. You know your body better than anyone, and if something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. Keep looking for answers and people who will listen to and support you through your journey,’’ says Tiahn.

In 2023, thanks to the extraordinary support of the Movement of Many, SCHF contributed $50,093,355 towards research, patient experiences and clinical care.

History shows that together, the Movement of Many can achieve amazing things for sick kids. Donate today to help raise funds for vital initiatives, including new diagnostic equipment and a state-wide gastrointestinal motility service.

Go all in for kids’ health because every child deserves to eat cake on their birthday. Donate for kids like Tiahn today.

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