Eight-year old Emma Smaling and her seven-year old brother LJ were born with a rare condition that has led to more than 230 broken bones between the pair of them. This hasn’t stopped them from chasing fun like every other kid, and with the help of Satan’s Little Helper, they were able to enjoy a whole weekend of it, creating life-lasting memories with their family.
Emma and LJ’s condition, Osteogenesis Imperfecta type 1, requires zoledronic acid infusions at the hospital every four months. Despite experiencing severe pain and frequent trips to the hospital, both children always rock a smile, live life to the fullest, and do well at school. For these extra brave, special Kiwi kids, Satan’s Little Helper organised a weekend away from their Palmerston North home down to Wellington, receiving VIP treatment with a family pass for them at Wellington Zoo, HELL pizza for dinner, and an overnight hotel stay. This was a chance for Emma and LJ to forget about the hospital appointments and everyday struggles to focus on what they do best — having fun with the whole family. Emma and LJ’s mum, Nakita, was over the moon when Satan’s Little Helper stepped in to help. “We just don’t get the opportunity to do anything like this normally. I don’t think we’ve had a weekend away as a family since my youngest child was born over two years ago. It was extra special that my sister and her kids decided to join us too,” said Nakita. “Emma and LJ’s condition is quite restrictive in what it allows us to do as a family. Having four children and the added financial stress of two of them having special needs means it just doesn’t happen. “We all had an amazing time at Wellington Zoo. Seeing Emma’s face as she stroked the little kangaroos and wallabies was magical, and LJ was amazed at the scorpion’s – he’d never seen anything quite like it before! “The whole weekend was just a real treat for the kids – they are all still talking about it now! The memories really will last a lifetime. Thank you so much HELL for organising an amazing weekend!”