BOSSLEY Park mum Louisa Silva is well placed to serve in her new role as client ambassador for disability service provider Northcott.
Her three-year-old daughter Mia was born with rare conditions that have required a great deal of attention since she drew her first breath.
"Mia was diagnosed with congenital heart disease, pulmonary atresia, pulmonary hypertension, subglottic stenosis and left vocal cord palsy," Ms Silva said.
"At eight months of age she got a tracheostomy, which involved surgeons cutting a hole in her windpipe and putting a tube in to help her breathe. Earlier this year she also had major surgery to reconstruct her airways.
"These were all big words I was faced with as a single mum and most of them I did not understand."
Ms Silva's experiences were not uncommon as a parent of a child diagnosed with disabilities, nor were her responses to the diagnosis.
"A sense of 'why me?' 'why my daughter?' — I had so many questions I wanted answered," she said.
"It was very hard trying to juggle being at the hospital and having two older daughters to care for but I realised early on that I had to control my emotions so I could be the best mother to all my girls."
It was at this point that Ms Silva was introduced to Parramatta-based Northcott.
"What a blessing this was," she said. "I had access to counselling, physiotherapy, children's services and the list goes on.
"Northcott has also helped me and Mia with funds for equipment Mia needed for her rehabilitation because I could not afford to do so.
"Mia currently has a speech therapist who attends our home on a regular basis because Mia's speech is very limited.
"I have seen huge improvements already and without Northcott's services Mia would not be where she is now."
In her role as client ambassador, Ms Silva hopes to reassure other parents and carers that Northcott is there to help.
Ms Silva is one of three Northcott clients chosen to represent the organisation.
"Louisa will spend the next year helping Northcott raise disability awareness by sharing her story of caring for a young child with disability and breaking down common stereotypes many people still have about living with disability and caring for children with disability," said Northcott chief executive Kerry Stubbs.