Annabelle's Broome Adventure

“She was so desperate for that liver, for that call. But this was a different thing that gave her life. We can never thank you enough.”

Since the day she was born, Annabelle has been fighting for her life.

When her newborn baby got severe jaundice and wasn’t gaining any weight, mum Vanessa knew something was terribly wrong. Tests confirmed it – and at just four weeks old, Annabelle was diagnosed with liver failure.

A tough start

With transplants in short supply, Annabelle faced an uncertain future. “Once she reached 12 months she got really sick – she couldn’t walk or crawl. She was desperate for a donor,” remembers Vanessa. A life-saving transplant brought Annabelle a reprieve – but Vanessa knew that it was only temporary.

Despite her difficult start in life, Annabelle has always been confident and adventurous. Throughout all the blood tests and procedures, only one thing got her down: missing out on school. “Things that kids take for granted have been taken away from her – all the things she’s been looking forward to but couldn’t do. For a child, it’s like you’re breaking their heart over and over again.”

Another transplant – and a secret weapon

When Annabelle needed another transplant at age nine, it became too much for her to cope with. “I remember the day before she got the call for her second transplant she said, ‘Mum, how long will I have to miss school for – how long will I be waiting and not able to do what other kids are doing?’ It was making her angry at herself.”

But Annabelle had something very special to get her through treatment – her wish. “When Make-A-Wish came to see Annabelle, she was in three months’ confinement. She couldn’t even go out in public. Having a wish gave her something to focus on and look forward to. She kept on asking ‘how long until her wish’ – she couldn’t wait.”

An adventurer’s fighting spirit restored

True to her adventurous spirit, and to make up for all the things she’d missed out on, Annabelle wished to go to Broome and ride a camel, see whales and go on a glass bottom boat. And in the midst of all the excitement and family fun, something incredible happened: Annabelle’s vivacious spirit was restored. “It gave her a lot more confidence. For her to experience that, getting a wish – it would have been the best part of her life so far.”