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Home   Medway   News   Article

Parents Lee Verney and Charmaine Kember tell of ordeal of little Annabelle after going down with rare brain disease ADEM at her Gillingham home

05 January 2014
by Nicola Jordan

Four-year-old Annabelle fell dangerously ill with a rare strain of brain disease a month ago and her family feared the worst.

Charmaine had just given birth to Ted, the couple’s fourth child, when their world fell apart as Annabelle was diagnosed with the potentially fatal illness.

Annabelle when she was very ill

Annabelle when she was very ill

Charmaine, 34, said “What was meant to be the best Christmas was turning into the worst as we feared we may lose our little girl.”

Annabelle became poorly at the family home in Toronto Road, Gillingham, on December 9, three days after Ted was born.

Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was rushed to the resuscitation unit at Medway Maritime Hospital.

Anabelle on her fourth birthday dresses as her favourite Disney character Minnie Mouse

Anabelle on her fourth birthday dresses as her favourite Disney character Minnie Mouse

After suffering a 45-minute fit she was transferred to the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London where she was diagnosed with ADEM, which causes swelling to the brain.

Annabelle was placed on life support for two weeks as doctors treated her for the condition which affects four-in-a-million people.

Charmaine and Lee kept a bedside vigil along with baby Ted as Annabelle began gradually to show signs of improvement.

Annabelle gives her baby brother Ted a cuddle for the first time

Annabelle gives her baby brother Ted a cuddle for the first time

Charmaine said: “At her lowest she was just lying there, looking straight through us.

“But the other day she managed to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’, which was like gold dust. And we have managed to get her into a wheelchair.

“We have been through a rollercoaster of emotions and we know we shall have to take each day as it comes. It’s going to be a very long recovery, but we have been told that there is an 85% chance she will make a full recovery.”

Annabelle was transferred back to Medway on Tuesday, making it easier for brother Sean, 14 and sister Aimee, 11, to visit.

Charmaine said: “It’s lovely to be back on home ground. Christmas has been put on hold.

“We won’t celebrate it until Annabelle is home, so that won’t be until February probably.”

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