By Alesha Capone
Seven-year-old Point Cook twins Riley and Cooper, along with their two-year-old brother Logan, are the lights of their parents’ lives.
The boys have all been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a rare and progressive muscle-wasting condition which has no cure.
Doctors say it is likely that the siblings, who sometimes use mobility scooters to get around, will require wheelchairs before their 12th birthdays.
Parents Rebekah (Bekk) and Nick Woronka, have started an online fundraising account to help support their sons.
Mrs Woronka said they initially started the GoFundMe account to help raise money for a wheelchair-accessible van.
“I’ve been told there are only three types of vans large enough to fit three wheelchairs in which is the Toyota Hiace, Ford Transit and a Mercedes Van,” Mrs Woronka said.
“This will help the boys to be able to stay in their school and socialise within the community.”
Mrs Woronka said the family also hoped to put money raised through the GoFundMe campaign towards a house deposit, so they can purchase a home and adapt it to the needs of their sons.
The campaign has raised more than $48,000 of the $100,000 target.
Mrs Woronka said the family was “so grateful” to the community for the support.
She said that having Riley, Cooper and Logan diagnosed with DMD “was extremely difficult for our whole family”.
“As a parent you have to make decisions for kids and hope that it’s what they would want you to make,” she said.
Mr and Mrs Woronka said they had spent years trying to get a diagnosis for the twins, after childcare staff raised concerns about them being slower than other children.
“The biggest thing I’ve learnt from this whole experience is to trust your instincts,” Mrs Woronka said.
“We were turned away by so many doctors saying that there was nothing wrong with the twins but because I followed my gut and kept searching for answers, we were able to get a diagnosis and get the boys the treatment they need.
“I just want other people to not take the first answer as they only answer if they feel it is not right. It’s OK to speak up.”
Ms Woronka said that, apart from their DMD diagnosis, Logan, Riley and Cooper were like other youngsters.
“Logan is so cheeky, he just wants to be like his big brothers so he’s always copying them,” she said.
“Cooper is the sensitive soul, but he also has a cheeky streak.
“Riley is the silly one, he will do anything to make people laugh.”
See au.gofundme.com/f/wheelchair-accessible-van-for-woronka-boys to make a donation.