Tegan and Cobber at RMHC Nedlands

Parker Family Story

Tegan and her son, Cobber (6 turning 7 years old) are originally from Kununurra, 3041kms from Perth, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The family, which includes Cobber’s siblings, Avena and Munro, now live in Perth, so that Cobber can receive ongoing treatment.

Cobber lives with a rare joint disorder called Arthrogryposis D-5.

Tegan was told that this would require surgery when Cobber was born. Before giving birth to Cobber, a scan detected that he had a clubbed foot.

However, before Tegan could give birth to Cobber, a midwife detected that he was in breech position during a scan and an immediate caesarean was recommended.

Tegan and Cobber

“When he was born he was severely deformed. They have no idea why it happened he wasn’t expected to survive. He was born with his legs wrapped around head,” says Tegan.

Baby Cobber had to be resuscitated half a dozen times in his first few weeks of life.

10 hours into his life, Cobber had to fly on his own to Perth, as the  Kununurra hospital didn’t have a neonatal unit.

Tegan could not fly with him as Cobber was in such a critical state and was a priority.

“Without the House we wouldn’t be able to live where we live. I wouldn’t be able to have a job, we would have had to relocate to Perth.

Our lives would have to revolve 100% around Cobber’s healthcare instead of being a family. I couldn’t live without the House.”

Cobber has come a long way. He went from having no use of his legs to being able to stand and walk, unassisted.

Cobber has celebrated half of his birthdays at the House, which has felt like he has an extended family around him,” says Tegan.

“Cobber refers to different volunteers as grandparents, and he describes them if he forgets their names.”

The House has kept the Parker family together, and has helped Cobber have his best support system (his Mum and siblings) right by his side, during tough times.

Cobber, Tegan, Avena, Munro

Since 2014, Ronald McDonald House Charities Western Australia has been Tegan and Cobber’s home away from home for 303 nights across 46 different stays.

“I can’t verbalise the extent the House has done for me and my family, and I am beyond grateful not only to the staff and the volunteers, but every single person who has ever donated their time or money.”

As Tegan and Cobber continue on their medical journey together, RMHC WA will continue to support the family during their time of need, when times are tough.