Strangers give family hope of breathing easy
RAISING a child with cystic fibrosis has meant being on constant alert for Tinana parents Melissa and Wayne Cross.
It was their worst nightmare to hear the doctor diagnose their tiny six-week-old son Khyzer with the life-shortening chronic illness.
"Not knowing how long he would be here was the biggest shock," Melissa said.
"We were totally lost."
Fast forward to Wednesday, Khyzer is a happy nine-month-old boy with the nickname 'the happy weezer' despite being on a constant routine of hospital visits and medication trials.
Even in the darkest of times light has been shone on the Cross family thanks to the generosity of strangers who helped raise enough money to buy a vest for Khyzer to help with his condition.
"It has an airway clearance system," she said.
"We want to let everyone know we have it and how grateful we are."
"Compared to raising the other kids, we have to be very careful with where we go, who touches him, especially in winter."
The couple have five other healthy children and had no idea what cystic fibrosis was when the condition was picked up during the newborn screening.
The life-threatening genetic disorder can impact the lungs, the pancreas and liver and the reproductive system.
The current life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis is 38.
"We were pretty cut up, knowing he won't live as long as my other boys," Melissa said.
Fortunately their other children were given the all clear.
The family has not given up hope of future medical advances that will help Khyzer live a longer, healthier life.