Good news for Kobi after surgery

Letitia BusniakThe West Australian
Two-year-old Kobi Rumble is back at home.
Camera IconTwo-year-old Kobi Rumble is back at home. Credit: Letitia Busniak/The Geraldton Guardian

Miracle toddler Kobi Rumble has returned home after three months in the US where he had life-changing treatment to save his leg.

The Geraldton two-year-old survived a head-on car crash in November 2015 that killed his mother Chloe.

Since her death, his family have dedicated themselves to fulfilling her wish that he one day be able to run and play like other children.

Kobi was born with the rare condition fibula hemimelia. His left leg was missing a fibula, half a tibia, two toes and several foot and ankle bones.

It was his mother’s dream that he have revolutionary treatment in the US rather than have his leg amputated.

Grandmother Debbie Punchard, Kobi Rumble, cousin Ava Park and aunty Amie Rumble.
Camera IconGrandmother Debbie Punchard, Kobi Rumble, cousin Ava Park and aunty Amie Rumble. Credit: Letitia Busniak/The Geraldton Guardian

As The West Australian reported in December, Kobi and his grandmother Debbie Punchard travelled to the Paley Institute in Florida in October where he had six-hour reconstructive surgery. The pair returned home on Friday and revealed the two operations, hours of physiotherapy and three months overseas had proven worthwhile.

“Kobi’s leg has now grown 5cm, meaning it perfectly matches the length of his other leg,” Mrs Punchard said.

“It’s been a very long process. But we wouldn’t take a second back and it’s all because of what his most recent X-ray showed.”

The family spent months fundraising for the surgery, expected to cost about $250,000.

Mrs Punchard said the family could not be more pleased with the results.

“It’s been worth every second because Kobi’s already doing so much better than before we left,” she said.

“He’d fall over a lot and sometimes it would be quite painful for him. Now he’s already running and playing so we can’t wait to see what’s next.

“It’s strange but he’s even speaking so much more now and we definitely feel like his confidence has grown so much during this experience.”

Debbie Punchard watches over Kobi Rumble following his six hour surgery.
Camera IconDebbie Punchard watches over Kobi Rumble following his six hour surgery. Credit: The Rumble family

In more good news for the family, the Paley Institute is training two Australian doctors to remove leg halos like Kobi’s, meaning the family may not have to return to America for a follow-up visit.

Until then, Kobi will continue to wear a two kilogram halo around his leg and receive monthly X-rays in Geraldton until his bone hardens enough to remove it.

Mrs Punchard, who celebrated the medical success with a welcome home party, again thanked the community for their generous support.

“From the amazing doctors at the Paley Institute to the people who donated ... thank you all so much,” she said.

“Kobi’s life has changed for the better.”

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