A brave teenager who received a double lung transplant when she was just four years old has celebrated her 18th birthday by raising hundreds of pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
Annabelle (Annie) Gascoyne, of Cornwall Close, Grantham has been receiving treatment at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital since she was just two-years-old after being diagnosed with a rare lung disorder.
Since turning 18-years-old earlier this month, Annabelle will move under the care of the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge but wanted to say a final goodbye to GOSH, who she has referred to as her ‘second home’ for the past 16 years, by making them an important part of her celebrations.
Annabelle’s mum, Sarah Gascoyne, said: “They have been on this journey with us. At the time of Annabelle’s transplant, staff said that she was the smallest person they they had ever operated on for a lung transplant.
“They have got her to 18-years-old so we felt that as a family we needed to do a last charity event to give support to a wonderful organisation and their staff.”
Along with her devoted, mum, dad Lee and brother Miles, Annabelle organised ‘Annie’s birthday gig’ at the Grantham College refectory, which raised over £1,200.
Nearly 200 people attended with local bands Mouse Trap, The Collective and The Shrives entertaining all the guests.
Sarah added: “Helping them along the way back stage were Trevor Bunn and sound geniuses Phil Moreton and Sam Marshall. The bands have been a wonderful support to Annie, helping her gain experiences for her photography and blog page – Alternative Annie.”
A number of local businesses, including Belton Woods Hotel, also donated prizes for a raffle and South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) raised £300 from a collection.
Despite the party atmosphere, Sarah admits that the family have faced some difficult times to get to this point.
After receiving the double lung transplant days before her fifth birthday in 2005, Annabelle spent the next few years in and out of the London hospital, where she underwent open heart surgery at six-years-old to fix a hole in her heart and then went through many rounds of chemotherapy when she turned eight.
Sarah said: “We first realised that something wasn’t quite right when Annie was just a year old.
“We knew that every child was different and developed at different rates but Annabelle always seemed so tired.
“Doctors thought it was say it was asthma but my husband, who also has asthma, was not convinced. Eventually we were referred to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and then to GOSH where she was diagnosed with having Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. She has remained under their care ever since.”
Despite everything she has been through, Annie is looking forward to an exciting future ahead, especially after receiving an unconditional offer to study music business at the Echo Factory in Leicester.
Sarah added: “She is such a strong person that I am under no doubt that she will be able to achieve whatever she sets out to do.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in the event and a massive well done for making it such a memorable evening for our daughter.”
To follow Annabelle’s blog, visit: www.anniesalternative.wordpress.com