Kathryn’s Story

Plunket StoryA check that changed a childhood

Kathryn is one mum who’s immensely relieved that she took advantage of a Plunket helping hand last year. That’s because she learned that her little girl had a medical condition that, left untreated, would have had potentially serious and lifelong effects.

Kathryn took four-year-old Eryn to one of Plunket’s free ‘B4 School’ checks, which aim to identify and address any concerns that could affect children’s ability to get the most benefit from school, such as hearing problems and communication difficulties.

“I was confident that the check would go well,” says Kathryn.

“Eryn was healthy and happy, and the only thing I had a minor concern about was her speech development. So you can imagine my shock when the nurse told me that Eryn’s right eye was showing signs of ‘laziness’ and that she needed to see an optometrist as soon as possible.”

The bad news was made worse when Kathryn and her fiancēe Dallas discovered that Eryn was virtually blind in her right eye. “We were utterly floored,” says Kathryn. “Her left eye had been compensating for the right so effectively that we had no idea there was a problem.”

Eryn’s condition means she now has to wear glasses that, in time, will encourage her eyes to perform as they should. With luck and perseverance she might be able to stop wearing them when she’s eight or nine.

“If we’d started the treatment any later the damage could have been permanent, with Eryn requiring glasses for the rest of her life,” says Kathryn. “I still can’t believe our good fortune – and I’m so grateful that Plunket offers the B4 School checks. It was a simple, half-hour experience that will make a huge difference to Eryn in the long term.”

Just one service among many…

It’s experiences like Kathryn, Dallas and Eryn’s that highlight the value of the services that Plunket offers to families nationwide. With a focus on children’s health and wellbeing, they empower mums and dads to give their kids the very best start in life.

Please give to Plunket and help us to ensure that children like Eryn get the services they need to thrive, and mums like Kathryn get the support they need to be the parents they want to be.

If you would like to share your story contact stories@plunket.org.nz

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