Gillingham mother Charmaine Kember's daughter, four, seriously ill with rare brain disease days after baby brother born
by Nicola Jordan
Lee Verney and Charmaine Kember thought they might never see
their daughter Annabelle giving her baby brother Ted a loving hug
for the first time.
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.
Charmaine, 34, said: "What was meant to be the best Christmas
was turning into the worst as we feared we may lose our little
Annabelle became poorly at the family home in Toronto Road,
Gillingham, on December 9 - just three days after Ted was
Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was rushed to the
resuscitation unit at Medway Maritime Hospital.
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 just four-in-a-million
daughter Annabelle lies desperately ill in hospital
Her parents kept a bedside vigil along with baby Ted as
Annabelle began gradually to show signs of improvement.
Charmaine said: "We have been through a rollercoaster of
emotions and we know we shall have to take each day as it
"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.
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