To the entire Bloods community – we need your help. Club champion Clint Wheatley and his family have recently received some unwelcome and life changing news. Let’s band together and help them out in this time of need.

Emma, and her family Clint (Dad), Lauren (Mum), Sarah (Sister) and Zach (Brother) need our support – please dig deep. Our good mate Clint, has serviced the Warrandyte Football club (and in turn the Warrandyte community) with great passion, commitment and sacrifice for many years. His relentless support in the development of young men, both on and off the field has been recognised, and now is our opportunity to give back to him and his family.

The Wheatley family have been dealt some hard times these last 12 months. Lauren (Mum) was diagnosed with Stage 2 Melanoma 12 months ago and underwent surgery to have this removed, their sister in-law lost her 5 year battle with cancer in March and now they have again been devastated by the news that their daughter, Emma – an extremely sweet, loving and gracious 12 year old – is suffering from a rare and chronic Autoimmune and Neuromuscular Disease called Myasthenia Gravis.

Just five weeks ago, Emma was a normally active 12 year old girl living her best life, within 1 week her health declined dramatically, at her weakest point Emma lost the ability to walk, lift her arms, barely able to open her eyes, smile, chew or swallow her food. Admitted to the Royal Children’s Hospital in a critical state, doctors has discovered that Emma suffered a myasthenia crisis, and soon after was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. This is a disease where her immune system attacks the body’s own tissues and produces antibodies that destroy her nerves, this affects her muscle memory and therefore Emma’s communication between her nerves and muscles don’t work.

When the communication stops, it severely weakens and fatigues the body’s voluntary muscles which causes a paralysis that affects her ability to chew, swallow, walk, talk, grip, bath independently, brush her teeth, wash her hair, hold her eyelids up and even more scary, her ability to use her respiratory muscles to help her breathe. As Myasthenia Gravis is different for everyone, no one knows how often or when the episodes will occur, the disease affects everyone differently. What we do know is that there is no cure and with each episode she suffers, makes it harder for her to recover from. This condition is EXTREMELY RARE in someone Emma’s age and because of this, they are unsure of Emmas quality of life. Due to the unpredictability of Myasthenia Gravis and how rare the disease is, they cannot confidently predict the outcome, but what they can tell us is that it is a lifelong disease, she will be on medication for life but even the medication cannot prevent the episodes from occurring.

The episodes can rate from mild to severe. Weakness and fatigue can fluctuate from day to day, and even during a 24 hour period. She may be fine and like any normal kids for as long as 6 months at a time with the mild day to day episodes but then out of nowhere, she may suffer a major episode. Emma will generally feel stronger in the morning after a full night’s sleep but will weaken dramatically as the day progresses. She will have days that she will get through much easier than others, she will have days where she is unable to get out of bed but can recover with a day of rest and then there will be the times she will suffer a severe episode which require her to be admitted to hospital and will take a long period of time to recover and requires rehabilitation to be able to function day to day again.

When this happens Emma requires equipment to aide her daily life such as a walker, crutches, walking stick and shower chair. We are hoping that in a few years Emma will be strong enough to undergo surgery to remove the Thymus Gland that may improve her strength and enable her to reduce the amount of medication she takes. The amount of medication she is on now long term runs a higher risk of her developing breast and bone cancer in the future. But as it stands today, Emma needs to take 13 tablets of medication per day to help control her symptoms. Major changes are now required to be made around the Wheatley home in order for it to be deemed a safe environment for Emma.

Inside the house they need to replace all the carpet with non-slip floorboards, they need a walk-in shower in the bathroom to make it easier for her to get in and out with some independence. The shower, bathroom and toilet all require railing to be installed. On the outside of the house, ramps and railing are required in place of steps. Medication is for life and is EXPENSIVE. This disease is now a financial burden, but this is where we can help. We are looking to raise money for Emma’s future well being and quality of life – funds that would be put towards the necessary renovations required, to help with the ongoing cost of these expensive medications.

Please take the time to visit the GoFundMe page setup by Lachlan Richardson and donate – every little bit will help!