Search

Barkingside family fundraising to help little Annabelle walk nine months after doctors said she would die

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:54 29 September 2017

Chris and Michelle Thomas with daughter Annabelle

Chris and Michelle Thomas with daughter Annabelle

Archant

The family of 17-month-old Annabelle, who last Christmas was diagnosed with a severe degenerative spinal condition, are fundraising for a hydropool as she makes a “miracle” recovery.

Chris and Michelle Thomas with daughter Annabelle Chris and Michelle Thomas with daughter Annabelle

On December 23 Barkingside couple Michelle and Chris Thomas received the heartbreaking news that no parent wants to hear.

At Whipps Cross Hospital they were told that their daughter Annabelle had been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy 1 (SMA1), and that she had less than a year to live.

“All I kept thinking was why me? I have just got a beautiful girl and now someone is going to take her away from me,” mum Michelle told the Recorder.

Annabelle was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, and there doctors explained she had no muscle strength in her spine – Michelle described her as “floppy”.

Chris and Michelle Thomas with daughter Annabelle Chris and Michelle Thomas with daughter Annabelle

She wouldn’t be able to walk, talk, eat and eventually live.

Michelle, 37, said she couldn’t stop crying: “How am I going to watch her die?”

However on Christmas Eve Great Ormond Street Hospital gave Chris and Michelle a “glimmer of light in all of darkness”.

A new drug nusinersen was finishing clinical trials in the US, and it may be able to help.

In December it was licensed for the UK – the first drug in the world to treat SMA1, and in February Annabelle was selected as the first British child to be given it.

She’s had five injections now, and will be given one every four months for the rest of her life.

And since then Annabelle has made “miracle progress” according to her mum.

“Just the other day she held her head up for 15 minutes, which doesn’t sound like much but meant the world to me,” Michelle explained.

“She’s started making noises and she is able to kick in water, which is why the hydropool is so important.”

After Annabelle started the injections doctors changed her life expectancy to between three and four years, and now they have taken a time scale off it.

Michelle does physio with Annabelle every day, but to use a hydropool, which is so important to Annabelle’s development, they have to go to Enfield as there isn’t one in Redbridge.

Michelle has to take three important and heavy bits of kit with her on the long trip, and is also worried about Annabelle getting ill, which she is very vulnerable to.

“I’ve become quite reclusive,” Michelle said.

“I’ve stopped going out with her, going to baby groups, as if she picks up a disease it could literally kill her.”

This is why the family have started crowdfunding for a hydropool, so Annabelle can get the physio treatment she needs safely in her own home.

They are hoping to raise £40,000, which will create Annabelle’s garden in a special outhouse out the back.

It will have a hydropool, a wet room for Annabelle to wash and an area for her to get changed.

Michelle said: “We’re going to grow roses, as Rose is Annabelle’s middle name, and install lots of mirrors as she gets really excited when she sees herself in the mirror.

“They show her what progress she is making, which she really likes.”

And Michelle said the reaction has been amazing.

“We have raised almost £8,000, including a £5,000 anonymous donation.”

Michelle explained the last nine months have been tough, but things are finally starting to look up and Annabelle’s positivity has helped get her through it.

“She’s always smiling, she just so positive and happy I couldn’t have done it without her.

“She’s had to have so many blood tests and she hasn’t cried once.”

Michelle said Annabelle absolutely adores music, and loved watching Glastonbury with her dad Chris.

“She has this little wooden xylophone which she loves playing.”

The family still need more than £30,000 to build Annabelle’s garden, and if you are able to donate visit her Just Giving page by clicking here.

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ilford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ilford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ilford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Ilford Stories

Yesterday, 21:31

A monumental innings of 160, the highest List A score of his career, by Varun Chopra helped Essex Eagles revive their Royal London Cup campaign against Somerset at Chelmsford.

Yesterday, 16:00

After a tough start to 2018, the recently relegated side will aim to enjoy success in two different formats over the Bank Holiday weekend

Yesterday, 16:34

Redbridge Council has applied for a High Court interim injunction to ban travellers from settling in the borough.

Yesterday, 16:31

Green-fingered community members have the opportunity to grow edible plants with medicinal properties at a Hainault garden in aid of refugees.

Yesterday, 15:00

Herons beat Billericay by 148 runs last weekend

Yesterday, 14:30

Lakeside Hammers will now head to Scunthorpe this evening for a clash with one of the in-form sides at the start of the season.

Yesterday, 14:00

The O’s will play a lot of local teams plus travel to Portugal for a seven-day training camp and it appears a good schedule for Justin Edinburgh’s side

PROMOTED CONTENT

An Ilford shoe retailer and podiatry practice is taking the next step with a move to a new shop just a few doors down.

Redbridge estate agents Sandra Davidson answer the common questions homeowners have when it comes to selling their home, and reveals how you can make sure the sale is stress-free

Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now