WHEN Jess Geosits gave birth to her first child, Matthew, five years ago, she had no idea that the rare medical condition he suffered would inspire a business idea with the potential to improve the lives of patients around the world.
Today, the Hunter mum is urging her community to help her family win a $50,000 community grant so it can get its start-up medical device EzyAid – which streamlines and improves the tube-feeding process for patients – to market.
“It’s a make or break moment, we need to pay for the patenting process and get the prototype confirmed,” she says. “Everyone knows someone who knows someone who has been tube fed and our goal is to make that process less traumatic and stressful and improve the lives of sick patients, many who are kids.”
Matthew was born with the rare condition Pierre Robin Sequence, with cleft palate, a recessed jaw, and recessed tongue, causing breathing and feeding issues.
He spent seven weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at John Hunter Hospital and was tube fed until he was two.
At home, parents Jess and Adam again realised how upsetting tube-feeding was for their son. The current method of tube-feeding is placing a layer of protective tape on the face, before a tube is inserted into the stomach. A feeding tube is then stuck to the first layer by tape, requiring multiple bits of tape on the face.
“Matty would often pull out his naso-gastric tube and the medical tape securing it would lift and cause a rash on his face,” Jess says. “Reinserting the tube was a two-person job and it was stressful for everyone.”
Jess developed a prototype for EzyAid, an all-in-one product for children and adults who require tube-feeding. The design allows one person to easily apply it, and limits the need for reapplication.
Jess and Adam have won support from Hunter firms Mobito and CoBond Material Solutions and Jennifer Holland, the Redhead mum who developed the now globally sold Throatscope oral examination device, said EzyAid was “advancing tube feeding worldwide”.
The voting deadline for the Beyond Bank Community Grant is October 17 and EzyAid is one of two Hunter-led products – the other is The Plastic Police®, an innovative community engagement and recycling program.