Shantell Kennell with daughter Daisy and Joel Streeter
Shantell Kennell with daughter Daisy and Joel Streeter

How this 18 month old became an ambassador for the RFDS

Looking at baby Daisy now, you would never guess her entry into this world was anything less than perfect.

However, as an ambassador for the Royal Flying Doctors at just 18 months old, in reality her birth was fairly turbulent.

Roughly 19 months ago, Daisy’s mother Shantell Kennell found herself in the Rockhampton Base Hospital with dangerously high blood pressure.

She had been diagnosed with Preeclampsia midway through her pregnancy, so this wasn’t an uncommon occurrence.

When her partner Joel Streeter offered to travel from his mining job to visit her, she waved him off, expecting to be sent home after a few hours.

Unfortunately, the doctors had other plans.

Unable to control her blood pressure, they informed Ms Kennell she was going to have to have her baby early.

Unfortunately, the hospital didn’t have the space to deliver it on site and so Ms Kennell was told at eight o’clock the next morning, she’d be flown to Brisbane with the RFDS.

For Ms Kennell, this was terrible news.

“I’m petrified of flying. I don’t even go on planes, I think I’ve only been on one once when I was a kid,” she said.

“So you can imagine, having to go on a tiny little plane, I was freaking out.”

Despite her misgivings, the following morning Ms Kennell asked Mr Streeter to meet her at the Royal Women’s Hospital, boarded the ‘tiny’ plane and left for Brisbane.

The flight only lasted around an hour and a half, with a quick stopover in Hervey Bay, but for Ms Kennell it felt like a lifetime.

“I was an absolute wreck but the nurse on board was so reassuring, all the staff were just brilliant,” she said.

Upon arrival, hospital staff were able to stabilise Ms Kennell’s blood pressure for another three weeks, until baby Daisy was born at 35 weeks.

Due to Ms Kennell’s experience with Preeclampsia, little Daisy was the size of a 29-week-old baby at the time of her birth and as such was kept in hospital for another month.

After this time, she was safely transferred by the RFDS to Rockhampton Hospital for another two weeks, before finally being strong enough to go home.

Now, a little over a year and a half later, Daisy’s story is set to feature in the Royal Flying Doctor’s collaboration campaign with Woolworths.

The annual campaign allows shoppers to donate $2 to the RFDS in exchange for a token which this year, will tell baby Daisy and mum Shantell’s story.

Donations will go straight towards the creation of preterm baby emergency kits, which allow the service to safely transport tiny babies every month.



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