Bella-Rose’s Starlight Wish was to visit Australia Zoo
Bella-Rose was a happy five-year-old when three years ago she complained of a sore tummy. Lisa knew something was very wrong when she picked Bella-Rose up from school. “As my daughter walked towards me, I realised that she was turning yellow,” says Lisa.
Bella-Rose was rushed to hospital where she endured many painful tests. Lisa is still haunted by the sound of her precious girl begging her, "Mummy, please don't let them hurt me!" The doctors discovered that Bella-Rose was experiencing acute liver failure - they had no idea of the cause. As Bella-Rose continued to deteriorate Lisa felt like the bottom had fallen out of their world. Bella-Rose needed a liver transplant if she was to have any hope of survival.
Our family is highly indebted to Starlight for assisting us through the tough times.Bella-Rose's mum
If this wasn’t enough, Bella-Rose’s transplant medication made her susceptible to viruses. She contracted pneumonia while her medication also caused diabetes. The doctors also discovered a heart murmur and a cyst on Bella-Rose’s lung. For Lisa, everyday felt like Groundhog Day.
During those long and painful weeks in hospital, Captain Starlight would visit Bella-Rose every day in her room. It was the only time Lisa saw those all-too-precious smiles return to Bella-Rose’s face. Bella-Rose even had to celebrate her sixth birthday in hospital, but Captain Starlight made it special.
When Bella-Rose became ill her brothers had to grow up quickly. As the baby of the family, Brock was often separated from his mum, while older brothers Bailey and Brodie suffered as they tried to understand what was happening to their sister. “As most parents know, keeping kids quiet and relaxed in hospital is almost impossible,” says Lisa. “The Starlight Express Room was a great place for the boys to play and be themselves without any repercussions.”
Lisa doesn’t think people completely understand the difference Starlight makes not only to the sick child, but their whole family. “It has taken us two years to understand the impact Bella-Rose’s illness has had on all of us,” says Lisa. “Starlight saw it all and lessened the trauma.”
Two years ago Bella-Rose was granted her Starlight Wish. “Bella-Rose was desperate to meet Bindi Irwin,” says Lisa. “We went to Australia Zoo for Bella-Rose’s birthday where she met Bindi, Bob, and Terrie. It was an amazing day. The wish meant a lot to Bella-Rose, but it also meant a lot to our family.”
Thankfully, Bella-Rose is now a bright and bubbly 8-year-old - although her condition still remains a mystery. “Starlight played a huge part in Bella-Rose’s recovery,” says Lisa. “Her conviction to fight and overcome whatever was causing her illness was due to Starlight helping us through the tough times.”
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