By Grace Jones | posted on November 23, 2017
ALBANY identical twins Jesse and Luke Wilson have every reason to smile – they will ride shotgun with Santa for 31st Bikers Charity Run for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Fund Appeal on December 9.
Paul Armstrong is the organiser of the event and said one of the jobs at the top of his list each year was finding deserving passengers for the trike that is driven by the main man.
“We really wanted to give a child that had experienced, or is still experiencing trauma, the opportunity to do something fun,” Mr Armstrong said.
“After ringing around I heard about Jesse and Luke. It seemed only fitting to ask if they wanted to join in.”
For all appearances, Jesse and Luke are normal looking nine-year-olds; however, as mum Kylie puts it, “they’ve experienced and endured more in their nine years than some do in their whole lifetime”.
Both boys were diagnosed with spontaneous congenital liver disease as infants, which was managed with diet and medication until things turned for the worse when they were seven.
“I learned that both of the boys needed liver transplants. The doctors said if Luke didn’t get a transplant he wasn’t going to make Christmas,” Kylie said.
Luke’s first transplant failed and he was in pediatric intensive care for three weeks until another liver was available.
“It felt like we only just got back to Perth when we got the call saying Jesse was going to have his transplant,” Kylie said.
Luck wouldn’t be on the Wilson family’s side however, when Jesse’s donated liver also failed.
“He underwent the two surgeries for livers within two days,” Kylie said.
“They were very sick little boys.
The support received from friends and family during those rough two years still touches Kylie today.
“The help I got from my parents-in-law was just amazing. Since my mum had passed away I didn’t really have a support base and they made themselves be it.”
Kylie said she had also been on the receiving end of the generosity of the Salvation Army.
“The kids had received gift hampers from the Salvos before, and I’ll never forget that moment of happiness the boys had when they got them,” she said.
“They’re very aware for nine-year-olds and they donate to the Kmart Wishing Tree when they can; they know what it’s like to need help.
“Our family are very proud to advocate the amazing work done by the Salvos. You just never know when you’ll need their help.”