Graphic: Kate Terry with her husband and five kids.
Mt Surprise mum, Kate Terry, shares how the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) has helped her and her five kids in the outback.
Kate and her husband Sam grew up on cattle stations and always dreamed of raising their kids in the bush, regardless of the challenges.
Their five children Mack (7), Bella (5), Percy (4), Beau (2) and Daisy (three-months old) live on a cattle property at Mt Surprise, a small town in Far North Queensland.
Their closest hospital or grocery store is at Atherton, a 2.5-hour drive.
The kids spend most of their days at school, mustering, riding horses, swimming in the creek and complete extra-curricular activities online.
But in July, 2022, after a long day of mustering Kate’s little girl Bella started complaining about a sore lump on her neck.
Bella, who’s usually the toughest, rarely complained about anything, so Kate’s motherly instincts quickly set in.
Without hesitation she drove Bella an hour to the closet clinic in Georgetown to get checked and thankfully the RFDS were there to help.
“I could tell something wasn’t right because she gradually became worse in herself and became very lethargic,” Kate said.
“When we arrived at the clinic, the relieving nurse was very concerned about Bella and organised for the RFDS to transfer us to Cairns Hospital for treatment.
“As she was young, and we lived so far away from a hospital, we didn’t want to take any chances.”
Bella spent the next five days in Cairns Hospital on IV antibodies with a serious infection in her lymph node system, which could have affected her airways if left untreated.
“The RFDS were so helpful,” Kate said.
“We didn’t have anything on us at the time and when we landed in Cairns they had organised little bags for us full of toiletries, sanitary items and a little knitted blanket for Bella.
“Raising kids in the outback is challenging but it’s a relief to know the RFDS are there for us and the kids.”
Throughout Kate’s pregnancies and births, the RFDS has been there to support their family and their health needs.
“I did shared care with the RFDS in Georgetown and Townsville,” Kate said.
“This made life so much easier because I didn’t have to travel too far for all of the appointments which come with having kids, like blood tests, iron infusions, ultrasounds and checkups.”
Kate said one of the biggest challenges she has faced with raising kids in the outback is living close to a school, with an easy commute, or keeping up with the groceries.
“Every time I go into town, I have to buy bulk to keep up with the meals,” Kate laughed.
“With all the challenges aside, being a mum is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.
“As the kids get older, I am really starting to appreciate all the different stages and soak up all special moments because time is going so fast.”
Kate is planning to spend this Mother’s Day mustering with her “bush babies”.