Flying doctors to the rescue for premi twins Chloe and Emily
THE matching pink suits Chloe and Emily wore to celebrate their success story captured many a heart in a Brisbane airport hangar.
But the twins, born 11 weeks premature, usually have to wear different outfits so their Calliope parents Virginia Schultz and Troy Bebendorf can tell them apart.
Ms Shultz charmed the crowd at the 20th anniversary of the Royal Flying Doctor Service's Brisbane base as she gave a glowing account of how the service helped her bubs.
She spoke about how the RFDS team was always calm and distracted her from the serious health problems her family faced to reduce her anxiety.
The girls weighed just more than 1kg each when they were born last December but they hit a 5kg milestone at their recent six-month check-up.
Ms Shultz and her twins, between them, took 11 flights with the service over about five months - from multiple attempts to stop premature births to rushing the girls to Brisbane within hours of their birth at Gladstone Hospital.
"It's a very tiny hospital. They don't even have a nursery so thankfully the royal flying doctors were able to be up there within an hour and 10 minutes of the call," she said.
"When the girls were born they had to push desks out of the nurse's office to make room for them.
"I didn't get flown down to the Brisbane hospital until two days after they were born.
"In the two days of not being able to see them, knowing how tiny they were and all the medical conditions they had, there was a fear of unknowing.
"You don't really know what to expect or what's going to happen.
"Also (once in Brisbane) having my two other children with my partner, not there with me, just made it a bit more difficult."
Ms Shultz said it was special to be part of the Brisbane base's birthday celebrations - including magazines and social media.
"It's great for them to have such a success story," she said.
"A lot of people in Gladstone wouldn't know much about the RFDS.
"For them to see and realise what a great organisation they are, it's a great honour for our girls to be the ones to do that.
"Since the drama of their birth and Chloe's little scare at four months old, everything is going great so far."
Queensland Rugby League head of football Neil Wharton has had his own family connection with the RFDS.
His brother Gavin needed an emergency flight to Brisbane to "save his life" about 30 years ago.
"Thankfully there was a medical doctor in Gladstone Hospital that recognised he had a dissecting aorta, or potentially a dissecting aorta, happening," he said.
"We're grateful for the organisation."
Mr Wharton said being a community partner with RFDS made sense because both had similar values - excellence, courage, inclusiveness and teamwork.
"One of the things our portfolio looks at is grassroots right through to the Origin concept so we are involved and have our development staff through the NRL throughout the state," he said.
"One of the advantages of this connection for us is that we've been able to access and get in touch with people in remote areas and we do that on a daily basis and so do the royal flying doctors.
"Hopefully we can help each other out."