"Our daughter's amazing recovery"
Guest blogger: Charmaine Kember
Annabelle was only four years old when she became poorly with a condition called ADEM, a very rare brain and spine disease affecting just four in every one million people. Myself, Annabelle’s dad and our week-old newborn son stayed at the Guy’s and St. Thomas’ House for just over a month while Annabelle was in hospital on life support. We found staying at the House helped make the most horrendous situation a little less stressful. It meant we didn’t have to travel hours every day to be with our daughter, and just knowing we were close to where she lay fighting for her life gave us comfort. With a newborn son to care for, being able to have a Moses basket, bedding and bouncy chair provided in the room helped to take some of the pressure off our shoulders.
We were told when Annabelle got off life support she would lose all her body functions, and doctors were right; she ended up in a wheelchair and couldn’t move. However after intense physio, lots of TLC and truly the best care from all the doctors and nurses, she slowly but surely turned a corner. The Ronald McDonald House enabled us to be there every stage of her treatment.
When Annabelle started school, proud doesn’t even come close to how we felt. After watching her learning to walk, talk and even blink again, we were already the proudest parents on the planet! Despite missing a lot of school due to her illness, it hasn’t held her back - she is doing fantastically well at school and she’s where she should be educationally. To the Evelina hospital and the all the wonderful people at the House - we credit you with our daughter’s amazing recovery. Thank you!
The first day at school is a huge step for any parents, however Charmaine’s story shows what a real milestone it is for our families.
Mum Charmaine with daughter Annabelle.
Annabelle recovering in hospital in Snow White fancy dress.