7News Melbourne December 2, 2014, 5:51 pm
A brave nine-year-old transplant recipient has thanked the families who saved her life.
Little Annabelle Memmolo was born with a rare liver condition, Biliary Atresia, which meant that without a transplant, she would have died before her second birthday.
“She was extremely unwell and extremely flat,” Annabelle’s mother, Vanessa, told Seven News.
“She could break a bone having her nappy changed. It was devastating.”
Annabelle was just 22-months-old when she received her first transplant.
Annabelle Memmolo would not be alive today without a life-saving liver transplant. Photo: Supplied
It kept her alive until another was available this year.
She has a message for the families of those generous people who saved her life.
“Thank you for giving me a life and a future,” Annabelle said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Annabelle Memmolo thanks the families who saved her life. Photo: Supplied
Today marks ten years since Allan Turner’s little girl Zaidee died, becoming the youngest person to donate organs that year.
“She was one of those kids that she’d come up and say hello to you,” Mr Turner said, choking back tears.
“She was one of those kids that just wanted to experience everything in life.”
Knowing she has helped seven others, just like Annabelle, makes the pain a little easier.
“A little eight-year-old girl received Zaidee’s liver and a new born baby who needed open heart surgery received a heart valve,” Mr Turner said.
Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the western world – half of the 50 children currently waiting for a transplant will die.
“There was so many people in hospital waiting,” Vanessa said. “Some of those ended up in ICU, some missed out. It’s scary.”
Less than half of all Australians know the donation wishes of their loved ones, so Vanessa and Allan have urged everyone to start having clear and open conversations about it with their families.
It’s important to be signed up to the donor registry but the next of kin always has the final say.
To become a donor visit the Australian Organ Donor Register website.