Struggle Street, filmed in the NSW Riverina, returns to SBS

HARD TIMES: Peta and her five-year-old twins Bree and Cody will be featuring on Struggle Street.
HARD TIMES: Peta and her five-year-old twins Bree and Cody will be featuring on Struggle Street.

A family living in a small Riverina town are not only facing the many demands of raising five-year-old twins, but also the challenges of raising a child with a serious medical condition.

Peta and Ricky and their children Cody and Bree live in Nangus, however their son has two genetic conditions.

One is Dent Disease Type 1, which is a chronic kidney condition that affects his speech and physical development, and also a mutation on a gene.

This mutation of the RANBP2 gene is known to cause encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain often due to infection, and can be viral or bacterial.

Peta, who wishes to keep her surname private, wants to become a voice for families living a long way from specialist medical care and are often having to juggle their work and travel long distances to care for their family.

"Even since the day he was born, it's been doctors and specialists - we have neurology, endocrinology, urologist, immunologists, his kidney specialist, his paediatrician ... it hasn't stopped," Peta said.

"We're five days a week to Wagga for all his services and, in between, we're fitting in all the specialist visits.

"There's no help in Wagga when it comes to your specialists, you have to travel to Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra."

MUM'S STRUGGLE: Peta hopes to educate others about the challenges of accessing specialist medical care.

MUM'S STRUGGLE: Peta hopes to educate others about the challenges of accessing specialist medical care.

The family-of-four will be featured on the third series of Struggle Street, which will return to SBS on October 9.

"I just wanted to get out there the struggles that rural families have when it comes to medical issues; we're just so behind the city," Peta said.

"The doctors that we have here are great; Wagga Base Hospital and the children's ward are brilliant, but as far as specialist services we have nothing."

Peta said choosing to open her family struggles for the whole nation to see was not a "hard" decision, but more an opportunity to educate others.

"It's letting people know that it is tough, it is hard, we don't have the access and sometimes the necessities," she said.

"I'm proud [our story] is out there and it brings awareness to ... an orphan disease, where there's not many known cases out there."

FUTURE AWAITS: Mum Peta says it can be 'tough' on Bree, 5, as she doesn't have a choice when they travel for Cody, 5.

FUTURE AWAITS: Mum Peta says it can be 'tough' on Bree, 5, as she doesn't have a choice when they travel for Cody, 5.

Peta said the family has not reached a point yet where they are forced to relocate to a major city, despite frequently traveling for treatments or appointments.

"I love where we are, it's very peaceful, it's a great little community," she said.

" ... if things changed down the track and Cody ever got to the point where he needs dialysis [then] that would probably mean we would have to move.

"As much as travel is hard, Cody's education comes into that as well and the local public school are just fantastic with him."

The family receives a lot of emotional and financial support from Country Hope, but it is still financially challenging.

"I got a lot out of being apart of the show and being able to talk, it's been very gratifying to be able to get our story out there and what rural families go through," Peta said.

This story 'We're just so behind': Struggle Street shines light on rural health first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.