Parents in awe of young Bella’s ‘strength of resilience’
Seven-year-old Bella Brown has had more hospital admissions than her parents have had combined, but she does it all with a smile on her face.
The Sunshine Coast girl is not only living with a rare genetic syndrome, but she's also recovering from an open-heart surgery.
Having undergone a subaortic membrane resection just one week ago, Bella's congenital heart problems are unrelated to her rare disorder, DiGeorge Syndrome.
Charlotte and Joel Brown's daughter was only one day old when doctors picked up a heart murmur.
Shortly after, she stopped meeting major developmental milestones and was experiencing feeding issues.
Her mum, Charlotte, recalls her dropping off the growth chart despite efforts to keep her weight up.
"Every little cold resulted in a long illness, and usually a hospital admission. It was a long road to diagnosis, but when we finally received it when Bella was 16 months old, we felt relief," Charlotte said.
"People would always comment about how she was a quiet content baby, never crying or laughing, and we now know this was more than just a good temperament."
DiGeorge Syndrome is an incurable chromosomal disorder that results in poor development of several body systems and can cause heart defects and poor immune system function.
Bella also recently had a subaortic membrane resection, an open-heart surgery that's used to repair a medical condition known as subaortic stenosis.
It is where the area below the aortic valve of the left ventricle is obstructed or narrowed, often by excess tissue, which reduces the flow of blood to the body.
Despite it all, nothing can dull Bella's smile, and Charlotte says her daughter's bubbly personality is contagious.
"She has had more anaesthetics and hospital stays in her short life than both my husband and I combined, but she does it all with a smile on her face - she has a level of strength and resilience that I wish I had even half of," Charlotte said.
Bella and her family are sharing their story to help other sick kids and encourage locals to donate to the 2020 Nine Telethon in support of the Children's Hospital Foundation.
In the past year, more than 1,400 admissions to the Queensland Children's Hospital were children from the Sunshine Coast.
Chief executive officer Rosie Simpson said money raised would fund medical research, lifesaving medical equipment and patient and family support services.
"Every single donation, no matter the size, helps us work wonders for sick kids just like Bella," Ms Simpson said.
"It's never easy having a seriously ill or injured child, and that can sometimes be made harder for those living in regional areas, who have to travel long distances for treatment and medical appointments."
To donate to the Nine Telethon, visit 9telethon.com.au or call 1800 909 900.
Tune in to the Nine Telethon at 3pm on Saturday, 14 November for more inspiring stories like Bella's.