Meet Georgie

Ever since she was born, Georgie was known for her giggles and grins. So, the moment that joy disappeared, her mother, Emily, knew something more serious was going on. 

When Georgie was five months old, she was brought to The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) for a small stomach bug. She was treated, and soon went home but a few days later, the situation took an unexpected and scary turn. 

“She was sort of very sleepy, and just not her normal self. She couldn’t move her body, and you could see in her face she was really struggling with that and was just not happy,” Emily explained. 

Concerned, the family took their younger daughter back to the RCH Emergency Department where she was instantly prioritised, admitted, and quickly introduced to the RCH’s Neurology team. While Emily and her husband were thankful for the care Georgie received, it filled them with fear about just how sick their child was.  

“It was very scary just cause the neurology team were doing everything that they could quite quickly. This also made us more stressed that something serious was going on,” Emily recalled. 

Georgie’s care team, led by Dr Andrew Kornberg, were moving as quickly as they could to prevent her condition from getting worse. But to do everything they could, Georgie also needed to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which caused further anxiety.  

“Having the MRI was pretty stressful, because Georgie had to go under general anesthetic as she was just five months old.  

“Then we got the results, and Andrew told us that she had inflammation in the bottom part of her spine, which was causing stiffness in her legs,” explained Emily.  

Georgie’s condition is also known as transverse myelitis and if left untreated could lead to complications, such as lifelong disabilities. While this was an extremely difficult time for the family, having an actual diagnosis offered Emily some comfort.  

“It was a huge relief…knowing that she would be ok and that it hadn’t gone to her brain,” shared Emily. 

“Andrew sort of commented on how we picked it up very early and did something about it quite quickly, allowing her to fully recover,” she continued. 

Georgie stayed at the RCH for another week, as clinicians administered a drug known as intravenous immunoglobulin 

This treatment plan prevented any further inflammation but unfortunately could not prevent Georgie from facing gross motor delays. Despite this, she has been working with a physiotherapist for over a year and has been tackling these challenges head-on.  

“Five months ago, she started walking which was amazing. 

“We were just so ecstatic that she started walking by 17 months, and so proud of how far she’s come,” Emily shared with pride. 

The family are incredibly grateful to the RCH for the care Georgie has received throughout her journey.  

“We’re just very thankful that we were so close to the RCH and that we got care very quickly,” Emily said.  

Looking ahead, Emily is excited about taking Georgie and her entire family on bike holidays, and seeing just how active she can be, thanks to the care she received at the RCH.