Our Region, Our People: Meet Jay and EmmaPublished 27 July 2021
Mobile health service reaching out to those in need.
In early 2019, Jay and Emma met when they found themselves facing similar challenges. Both were struggling with addiction, sleeping rough, and had no close family or friends to reach out to for help or support.
One day the pair were visiting the local Rosies – Friends on the Street van, when they were introduced to Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) funded service, Wheels of Wellness (WOW).
WOW is an outreach service that delivers respectful and dignified mobile general practitioner and nurse clinics to Cairns’ most vulnerable individuals.
The WOW mobile clinic’s doctors, nurses, and support staff go out into the community to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time to those in need.
When Emma decided to get a general medical check-up through WOW, both she and Jay were not expecting the life-changing news that was to come.
“At my first check-up with the WOW team, I had some standard tests done which showed that I was eight to nine weeks pregnant with my first child,” said Emma.
“Living on the streets and finding out I was pregnant was a little bit scary, it was a bit of a shock.
“We didn’t really know what to do, and I’m so grateful that WOW was there to guide us in the right direction.
“Without WOW, we probably would not have had the same access to all the health services for pregnancy such a GP, ultrasounds, support, and especially the medications.”
After their initial check-ups, WOW provided an important single point of contact for the mum-and-dad-to-be to access reliable health information and services, while also providing a supportive social network.
Jay and Emma also developed a connection with WOW staff who helped them to navigate difficult life circumstances, prepare to welcome a newborn, and the associated medical services.
“If we hadn’t had access to the services that WOW provided, we probably would not have found out that Emma was pregnant until much later,” said Jay.
“It took us some time to become comfortable with the service and staff, but we are grateful to have discovered the service and met some great people.
“I don’t know what we would of done if we didn’t have WOW to help us.”
Thanks to the Wheels of Wellness team of doctors, midwife nurses, and staff both Jay and Emma received all the medical and emotional support they needed to safely bring their daughter Sapphire into the world.
“We were fully supported by the staff—Bec, Nurse Midwife Mel, and Dr Anthony who became like family to us,” said Emma.
“We are so lucky to have Sapphire, she’s the best baby and we now can’t imagine our lives without her!”
Since the couple began their journey with WOW, Jay and Emma have gone from strength to strength.
Both Jay and Emma have drastically changed their living situations and secured housing and employment. They have also undergone drug treatment to ensure that their happy and healthy daughter has the best life they can offer.
WOW has also been on their own journey by expanding their healthcare offerings in addition to their mobile outreach service, to further assist Cairns residents to live happier, healthier, longer lives.
In May 2021, Wheels of Wellness opened the WOW Hub located next to the Cairns Base Hospital, to provide vulnerable and at-risk individuals with a place of respite from street living and to assist them to engage with traditional health care services.
Earlier in 2021, Wheels of Wellness was also nominated for the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards and received the highly commended award in the Health and Wellbeing category.
To find out more about Wheels of Wellness, visit wow.org.au
Last updated: 23 August 2021