Caleb Donoghue and his mum Tamara Lette are urging local residents to donate to the Children's Hospital Foundation Telethon. Caleb was born with a severe hole in his heart. He has since had extensive surgery and is on the mend.
Caleb Donoghue and his mum Tamara Lette are urging local residents to donate to the Children's Hospital Foundation Telethon. Caleb was born with a severe hole in his heart. He has since had extensive surgery and is on the mend. Mike Richards GLA221018HART

Caleb's amazing heart is a testament to his bravery

IT took Tamara Lette a lot of pain and heartache to bring her son Caleb into the world.

The Gladstone mother had four miscarriages before giving birth to the now two-year-old.

"I struggled to conceive due to endometriosis, so Caleb was a miracle baby," Tamara said.

When she was 20 weeks pregnant, Tamara was told her unborn son had an abnormal heart and kidneys.

"I had to move to Brisbane before I had him so he could be born at the Mater Hospital - I was there for six weeks," she said.

"When he was born, he would be breathing but little oxygen was going into his blood."

For the first nine months, Caleb's health remained stable and he and Tamara were able to remain in Gladstone but return to Brisbane for three-monthly check-ups.

However, his health started going downhill by nine months of age and he needed life-saving surgery at Queensland Children's Hospital.

Special technology was used to print a 3D model of his heart, meaning surgeons were able to meticulously plan how to fix him.

"This meant the doctors were able to cut his time on the bypass machine from five hours to about 90 minutes," Tamara said.

"His recovery was amazing."

He had a follow-up surgery six months later but it is expected he will not need to go under the knife again.

Caleb and Tamara spent two months at QCH, a visit made easier thanks to the support of the hospital and Children's Hospital Foundation staff and volunteers.

"You cannot fault them at all," Tamara said, revealing Caleb enjoyed the many Children's Hospital Foundation services.

These include Juiced TV, where children host the show and interview celebrities; Cuddle Carers; music, pet, bedside play and other therapy programs; and the Book Bunker library.

"They were amazing, the volunteers would come through with the dogs for the pet therapy program," she said.

"They filled up the day and distracted him from the tests and the needles."

The Channel Nine Telethon is the Children's Hospital Foundation's key fundraiser.

As well as supporting patients at QCH, money raised during the telethon pays for vital medical equipment, research and a range of medical services at QCH and throughout regional Queensland and Northern NSW.

The foundation hopes to raise more than $12 million when Queenslanders tune into the telethon on the Nine Network on November 17.

Donations can also be made at participating Woolworths, Big W and Bank of Queensland outlets.


The inflight technology saving young lives

IF your child becomes critically ill, there is a chance their life might be saved by technology partially funded by community donations.

The Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine is a significant piece of equipment that takes over the function of the heart and lungs while a child's body is fighting an illness or struggling with an injury.

The ECMO at Queensland Children's Hospital has saved the lives of more than 200 children from as far north as Cooktown, west to Mt Isa and south to the Gold Coast. 

The Children's Hospital Foundation has commissioned a special portable version of the ECMO - known as a "sled".

Money raised during last year's Channel Nine Telethon helped pay for the first Australian portable unit, one that can go in an aircraft, foundation CEO Rosie Simpson said.

"Close to half the children that come into Queensland Children's Hospital are from regional areas - which is why we fund innovative equipment," she said.

"The ECMO sled is equivalent to an intensive care unit but it is mobile.

"We are bringing all the technology and expertise to the patient."  -NewsRegional


  • Queensland Children's Hospital treated about 13,000 inpatients from regional Queensland and northern NSW over the past year.
  • The Children's Hospital Foundation provides a range of support services for sick children and young people attending QCH and hospitals across Queensland.
  • About $1.7 million of CHF funds has been invested in regional pediatric wards.
  • More than 42 per cent of children visiting hospitals in Brisbane come from regional areas and many of these are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in Queensland.