Saturday, 23rd July, 2016
By Daniel Stringer
A local family overwhelmed by the support they have received from a service assisting children across the far west have received a surprise invitation.
Royal Far West is a non-government organisation that provides services to kids in far west NSW suffering from developmental, behavioral, learning or emotional disabilities.
It provides families with food and accommodation while their child attends specialist appointments and receives treatment.
For Bonnie and Andrew Aeschlimann, the organisation has been an enormous help, as their 5-year-old son Daniel suffers from a severe speech delay.
The parents first began using RFW and their services in April, after they became frustrated by the lack of services offered in Broken Hill.
Andrew said the fact that everything was organised for them was a huge help.
“Everything was provided for us all in the same place, accommodation, specialists and there is even a school there if we needed it.
“Royal Far West is set up for kids in far west NSW on purpose because they know how hard it is to get specialists out here.
“They provide everything because they know how difficult it is for us to go see them.”
Even after only three months of treatment, Bonnie says they are already starting to see improvements in Daniel’s speech.
“We have absolutely seen an improvement in Daniel’s speech.
“He is attempting sounds we hadn’t heard before and his clarity is increasing. Some of the tools that they gave us were excellent.”
To further add to the good news, Bonnie received a surprise phone call from RFW this week asking her if she would attend a morning tea with a very special guest.
The Governor General of NSW, David Hurley, who is a patron of the organisation, is visiting the facilities in early August. As the parent of a child that has benefited from the services, the organisation thought Bonnie and Daniel would be the perfect people to speak with the governor.
The visit is set to shine a light on the work the organisation does, something which Bonnie said was important if they want to grow even further.
“I think it is important that they do recognise it and they realise the focus they put on kids that don’t fit the mainstream program.
“I know they would like to see more things done so they are able to reach more kids.
“They are doing great things with the facilities they have, but the place is packed and there is a waiting list.”
Organising travel is one example of the way RFW makes life easier for families in the area to receive specialist treatment.
In the past Bonnie and Andrew have driven their whole family from Broken Hill to Sydney, however the organisation has arranged much easier transportation for their next visit.
“Last time we went we drove because it was cheaper than buying flights for us and four kids.
“This time though Royal Far West have booked us a flight through Angel Flights, which takes us from Broken Hill to Bankstown. Then they have arranged for Angel Earth to drive us directly to the hospital.”
While Bonnie says that it will be an honour to meet the Governor General, she says it is not something she had given much thought to before.
“I’m certainly not bucking for an audience with the NSW Governor General. It’s certainly not something I ever had on my bucket list.
“It’s an honour just to be asked, I mean, who am I? I’m just a mum with a son who is struggling.”