Kaliyah, the dancing queen!
At 10, Kaliyah’s asthma was under control, and her family hoped it would stay that way, when the talented young dancer had her worst episode ever.
Since Kaliyah was a baby, her parents Haylie and Lautaro knew something wasn’t quite right with her health. Along with severe allergies to dust mites, pollen, grass, pets, dairy and even certain fabrics, she had terrible eczema that caused her lots of discomfort.
“When Kaliyah was seven, we noticed she started breathing abnormally. We visited our local GP who diagnosed her with severe allergic asthma. Ever since, we have been working with Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick’s Respiratory Department to ensure our beautiful daughter can still live a normal life,” says Haylie.
On the outside, Kaliyah is a bright young girl who shines under the spotlight of any stage. But sometimes, in between her much-loved performances and recitals, she can really struggle to breathe.
Kaliyah is one of 1368 patients under the care of the Respiratory Department at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. And like many of these kids, while she appears to be a healthy 12-year-old girl, the reality is that her condition can impact many parts of her day-to-day life.
“Kaliyah can have times when she is well and we are optimistic that things will stay that way,” says Haylie. “Then, suddenly, she will have a flare up and there will be emergency visits, lots of hospital stays and check-ups. It’s heartbreaking to see her health deteriorate so quickly,” says Haylie.
The last couple of years have been particularly challenging. In December 2018, Kaliyah experienced a near-fatal asthma attack due to an unknown trigger. Then, just over a year later, the threat of COVID-19 added another layer of concern for the family.
“Kaliyah’s severe asthma attack was absolutely terrifying. She spent months slowly recovering, and then was faced with the uncertainty of a global pandemic “For kids like our Kaliyah, a respiratory infection can be life-threatening,” says Lautaro.
In these scary moments, the support of the Respiratory Department shined through. The family’s guidance and education from her multidisciplinary team of physios, doctors and nurses at the asthma clinic, helped equip Haylie and Lautaro with the skills they need to look after their little girl - meaning less time in hospital, and more time at home with her family.
And it’s with the support of a whole department behind her, that Kaliyah finally returned to the stage for her end of year concert. “She was in 14 routines and danced just as amazingly as any other child up there,” says Haylie proudly.
While Kaliyah will always need to manage the triggers of her asthma, her family are forever grateful to the healthcare heroes who continue to care for her. Today, they’re sharing their story in the hopes it will empower people like you to be brave and pedal the distance for kids like Kaliyah.
To help sick kids like Kaliyah breathe a little easier, sign up to Pedal 4 Kids today and raise vital funds for Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick’s world-class Respiratory Department.