Add to Technorati Favorites

Compared to What?

Have you ever thought "lifes hard"?

I know we all have at one time or another, but the words of Journalist, teacher and lecturer Sydney J Harris who is quoted as saying "When I hear somebody sigh 'Life is hard', I am always tempted to ask 'Compared to what?'" give pause for thought,

So what is the benchmark that you are making your comparison against when you think life is hard?

One of the most sobering places to check your benchmark is a visit to a childrens hospital or hospice, to realise that at any given time there are families struggling with dying or critically ill children, be it from drowning, seizures, cancers or any of the other miriad causes that result in these children being ill, and to realise that these challenges are going on twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a yea, no breaks for weekends or public holidays.

These children display amazing courage despite the pain or other challenges they face, those that can... smile, those that can't.... tell you a picture with their eyes or just by their pure determination to hold on.

The families are grieving for what was, for what their children may never be and for the pain and suffering that their child is enduring, but nonetheless they are getting on with making things as good as they can possibly be. Many of these families are also very humble, they appreciate that as bad as their situation is, there are always others in a worse position, because they can see it.

So next time you are complaining that life is hard, we invite you to pause for a moment and consider the plight of the many children and families in childrens hospitals around the world, or to think of some other benchmark and reflect " is life really as hard as you thought?"

Photo by oimax

The confusing language of brain injuries

When confronted with your child having an hypoxic brain injury the doctors seem to be talking in their own special shorthand. This site , developed by people who have lived through brain injury first hand, is an excellent resource for interpreting doctor speak.

Knowing what the doctors are saying is a big help in getting to understand what the problem is, and can help you to start asking questions that you need to know!

We will post other useful links like this as we find them.

Image is a Registered Trademark of Samuel Morris Foundation Ltd and may not be reproduced without written permission

Penrith Festival and Ulysses parade - spreading the message

Today the Penrith festival and the AGM of the Ulysses Club are on in Penrith NSW. Thousands of people are visiting high street Penrith to see the vast array of stalls and activities including the street parade of over 1000 motorbikes.

The Samuel Morris Foundation is busy spreading the water safety and drowning prevention messages. We are handing out 100's of resuscitation brochures/charts from our partner Royal Life Saving, and working with Poolwerx to promote a safe pool environment and the maintenance of pool fencing, and working with Nepean Swim and Fitness to promote learn to swim and water survival skills.

Thanks to Nepean Swim and Fitness we are also giving away 10 CPR courses as part of todays event?

So have you checked your pool fence and gate lately to ensure it is safe? Do your children have the skills to be safe in the water? Do you ALWAYS supervise the children in and around the water? Do you know CPR in case the unimaginable happens?

What are you going to do about these today?

Courage - an unfolding story

The Samuel Morris Foundation knows only too well that near drowning accidents are far too frequent. In fact for every child that dies as a result of drowning there are three to four children admitted to hospital following near drownings and one fifth of these children will be left with a hypoxic brain injury that leaves them with disabilities for life.

Sadly young Joshua is one of those who is currently in hospital following a near drowning on 2 February this year. His family is displaying a great deal of courage as they deal with the uncertain consequences of Joshua's accident.

Joshua's mum, Wendy, is documenting Joshua's and their families experience through their blog which you can access here or via the links on the right of our page.

Many of the experiences that Wendy is documenting are so similar to the experience that Samuel went through, and other families also experience during this journey.

The Foundation admires the courage that Wendy and her family are showing during Joshua's journey, and we thank them for their willingness to share their story, and thank them for their permission to share links to their story.

Photo by Peasap

Fun Murals for Disabled Children and their families

The Samuel Morris Foundation has been supporting a project to liven up the environment for the many disabled children and their families that use the Child Assessment Centre, Childrens Hospital at Westmead.

The artist Ljae Elwell has been doing a great job of these murals, and the Foundation can't wait to see what she has in store for the treatment rooms!

Projects such as these are another way that the Foundation is working to improve the quality of life for children disabled by near drowning or other hypoxic brain injuries.

These projects also highlight the Foundations proven track record of working in partnership with organisations like the Childrens Hospital, as well as our strong partnership with Royal Life Saving. Some new partnerships will be announced soon!

These projects are only made possible by our generous individual and corporate donors, so if you have made a donation THANKS! If you haven't but would like to help bring some joy to disabled children, and also support our drowning prevention message please consider making a donation by visiting

A Good Death?

What makes a good death? How do you alleviate pain appropriately at end of life stage? What if it was your child suffering and death was to be the ultimate outcome, what would you do?

These are questions that parents of profoundly disabled children with life limiting illness or injury must inevitably confront. This ABC Background Briefing story and associated podcast provides some very interesting and thought provoking approaches to the question of what makes a good death.

Is a good death one without suffering? Is it one were suffering is minimised? Is it one that meets the direct needs of the child through palliation? Who has the right to speak for children with profound disabilities who are unable to speak of their own suffering?

Rights or not?

Esteemed legal practitioner Geoffrey Robertson makes a cogent argument for the establishment of a charter of rights in Australia in this SMH article. As he points out the Universal Charter of Human Rights is a good start (even if basic by neccessity).

As advocates for the quality of life for children disabled by hypoxic brain injuries, conventions to which Australia is a signatory provide some pause for reflection on the "rights" of children with a disability. The UN Convention on the rights of persons with a disability is one such document.

Section (r) Recognizing that children with disabilities should have full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children, ................, and
Section 20 (b) Facilitating access by persons with disabilities to quality mobility aids, devices, assistive technologies and forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including by making them available at affordable cost;

These are just two examples of obligations on the Australian Government as signatories to this convention.

How then can it be justified to make children wait extensive periods for access to wheelchairs or other mobility equipment. Particularly when such waits expose the children to potential further harm, and create other quality of life issues for the children and their carers?