Meet Arielle, the little Ambassador for the 2018 Good Friday Appeal. When you’re around four-year-old Arielle, you can’t help but smile – she’s bright, bubbly, and full of energy. It’s hard to imagine in 2013 her parents were preparing to say goodbye to her forever.
During her mother Genevieve’s final weeks of pregnancy in 2013, doctors noticed there were issues with Arielle’s heart. Arielle was born with dilated cardiomyopathy and immediately transferred to The Royal Children’s Hospital.
After multiple tests it was revealed that the left side of Arielle’s heart wasn’t functioning, Genevieve and her husband Carl were told to prepare for the worst. At that time, a heart transplant wasn’t an option nor had it ever been performed on a child of Arielle’s age.
At eight days old, it became clear that Arielle wasn’t going to recover and specialists at The Royal Children’s Hospital made a bold decision to fit her with a Berlin Heart, a mechanical cardiac support system that supports children with severe heart failure. A child that young, at just over a week old, had never been fitted with such a device in Australia.
Thanks to this life-saving decision made by the RCH specialists the Berlin Heart supported Arielle and at five-months-old she was lucky enough to receive a heart transplant, making her one of the youngest ever recipients in Australia.
Arielle’s mother Genevieve, couldn’t speak more highly of the hospital. She says,
“We were so excited when we were told the specialists at The Royal Children’s Hospital were able to save our little girl. We just couldn’t stop crying. However, you do think of the other children and their families who are also in need of the hospital’s incredible support, staff and facilities. Without them, our daughter wouldn’t be here with us today and we couldn’t be more thankful.”
As part of her heart transplant care, Arielle remains a long-term patient of the Royal Children’s Hospital with continued follow-up appointments with the Hospital for close monitoring.
Thanks to your generous community support, we can make a difference to children like Arielle and the thousands of families who require the support of the The Royal Children’s Hospital every year.
We invite you to donate to the Good Friday Appeal and Give that they may grow.