Meet Tedi, our Good Friday Appeal mini ambassador

March 29, 2024 BY

This year's local Good Friday Appeal mini ambassador Tedi Rudd (left), alongside twin brother Santiago (right) and mother Marianela Tobon (middle). Photos: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

FOUR-year-old Tedi Rudd has been named the Greater Geelong region’s first ever Good Friday Appeal mini ambassador as the community raises funds today for the Royal Children’s Hospital and other regional healthcare providers.

Tedi, 4, was named a regional ambassador as part of the Appeal’s unprecedented move to divert a portion of this year’s proceeds to five regional health centres, including Geelong’s Barwon Health.

Mother Marianela Tobon and father Zachary Rudd gave birth to both Tedi and twin brother Santiago at 23 weeks on December 16, 2019 – the minimum number of weeks a baby can be born prematurely – and both parents had to make a life or death decision.


This year’s region mini ambassador for the Good Friday Appeal, Tedi Rudd.


Ms Tobon said Tedi received more than 20 surgeries from his birth to the time he left the Royal Children’s Hospital, spanning seven months, while his brother recovered in the Royal Women’s Hospital. Tedi had required regular check-ups until last year, when he had his tracheostomy removed, allowing him to breathe through his mouth, not his throat, for the first time in three years.

“It was a really difficult time for everyone, with his tracheostomy particularly, we had to have someone watching over him full-time because we had to make sure the opening wouldn’t get blocked,” Ms Tobon said.

“There were a number times my husband and I couldn’t sleep at all for two to three weeks at a time whenever he got sick, because of the excess build-up in his throat.

“It was a really tough time for those first three years, but the team at the Royal Children’s Hospital somehow made a terrible situation a little bit better.

“It’s an institution like no other in the world and the level of professionalism there is like nothing I’ve witnessed.”

Both boys needed to be on life support for months following their birth, while Tedi was clinically dead on several occasions, Ms Tobon said, but was brought back to life by CPR.


This year’s local Good Friday Appeal mini ambassador Tedi Rudd (right), alongside twin brother Santiago (left) and mother Marianela Tobon (middle).


As a result, Tedi would have broken ribs and brain bleeds from the incidents, but more tough decisions had to be made.

Tedi also had a part of his bowel removed and his trachea was rebuilt, using cartilage from his ribs to help improve it. Ms Tobon says Tedi was symptom-free now and is living his best life, enjoying surfing and boogie-boarding in Torquay whenever he can, but is generally unaware of the significance of being a mini-ambassador.

“I think he knows something is up, but he loves the extra attention. I don’t think he really knows what it means at this stage.

“I think when he’s older he’ll start to fully understand the importance of what a role like a mini ambassador is and what an honour it is to be one for the Good Friday Appeal.

“We’re very proud as a family and it’s a blessing he is here today.”

To donate to this year’s Good Friday Appeal, head to goodfridayappeal.com.au/donate

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