Meet Ranger Landon!
When seven-year-old Landon grows up he wants to be a Power Ranger! Given his bravery battling illness since he was born, he's already a true superhero!
Mum Raelene recalls the shock when at 20 weeks pregnant, ultrasound scans revealed a serious urinary obstruction known as Posterior Urethral Valves in her unborn baby.
The diagnosis meant Raelene had to travel from regional NSW to Westmead Hospital in Sydney for specialist care when Landon was born.
It was a distressing time for Raelene who had to leave her two older boys Clayton and Preston back at home in Wellington. But sadly, there was more anguish to come.
"Landon was born on a Friday, and the doctors told me he was unlikely to survive the weekend," Raelene recalls.
The family rushed to be by her side and thankfully Landon defied the odds. Raelene said to this day he’s a courageous ball of energy.
"He’s always on the go," she laughs. "From the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep, he never stops talking!"
Landon's whole life has been consumed by hospital. He's very close to his brothers and being in hospital so far from home took its toll on the family. The long trips from Wellington to Sydney were gruelling for the single mum, so Raelene made the difficult decision to relocate to be closer to the hospital.
She said amid all the pain the family has endured one bright light has been Starlight.
When Landon was in hospital his brothers would spend hours in the Starlight Express Room. It helped keep them occupied and distracted them from what was going on.
Earlier this year, Landon had transplant surgery. Raelene said it was an incredibly difficult time and she’s not sure how they would have coped without Starlight being there.
"As a parent, the Starlight Express Room is a vital outlet. It's where you can take a break and forget about everything that’s happening, even if it’s just for a while."
Following his surgery, Landon has regular check-ups in hospital. After every painful test or procedure, Landon always visits the Starlight Express Room and it helps him relax and unwind.
"Landon knows exactly how to get to the Starlight Express Room!" Raelene said. "As soon as he walks in, he's himself again."
She said with Captain Starlight, Landon can just be a kid. In the Starlight Express Room Landon loves the video games and of course, talking about his favourite superhero action figures!
Landon recently had his own superhero moment flying high to mark Starlight's 30-year anniversary.
Virgin Australia rolled out the red carpet for Starlight kids and families for this special celebration at 30,000 feet. It was Landon's first time in a plane and he described it as the best day ever!
Raelene said the smile on his face said it all and she is so thankful to Starlight supporters.
"Starlight has made such a difference to all our lives. Starlight helps kids take a break from all the pain and just be normal kids again."
And Landon has just heard the exciting news that he's been granted a Starlight Wish. He’s busy planning his dream adventure, so watch this space!
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