Geraldton boy Kobi Rumble back to US for leg surgery

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Kobi Rumble, 4, with aunt Amie Rumble and grandmother Debbie Punchard.
Camera IconKobi Rumble, 4, with aunt Amie Rumble and grandmother Debbie Punchard. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

A beloved Geraldton boy is returning to the US in two weeks for a $150,000 operation that will vastly improve his quality of life.

Kobi Rumble, 4, captured local hearts in 2015 when 50-year-old truck driver Christopher Samuel Hayes crossed onto the wrong side of North West Coastal Highway and slammed into the car occupied by Kobi and his mother, Chloe Rumble, who was killed instantly.

Hayes was sentenced to two years in prison the year after the crash, which left Kobi without his mother just five days before his first birthday.

Though Kobi escaped with only minor injuries, he has since undergone a medical journey to address fibula hemimelia — a rare condition he’s had from birth that means his left leg is missing a fibula, half a tibia, two toes and several foot and ankle bones.

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Aunt Amie Rumble said locals had generously donated about $15,000 to ease the financial pressure on the Rumble family, who will take Kobi to Florida on September 1.

“No one in Australia could do the surgery,” Ms Rumble said.

“Here they basically told us the only thing they could do for him was amputation.”

It will likely take Kobi until just after Christmas to fully recover from the surgery, a roughly 10-hour operation during which surgeons will insert pins in his leg in an attempt to lengthen them.

Kobi last had the same surgery in 2017, and his family hopes only one more operation will be needed in his teens to align his affected leg with the natural growth of his other limb.

Ms Rumble described Kobi as a “boy’s boy” who loved cars, Ninja Turtles, and his late mother.

“He misses his mum and often he will talk about her,” Ms Rumble said. “And we make sure to discuss her, to keep him remembering her.”

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