We can all admit we take our health for granted at times. We don’t realise just how fortunate we are until we hear stories of people with conditions that prevent them from doing menial everyday tasks like recognising their friends from afar and being able to tell if a glass of water is half full or empty.
11-year-old Annabelle's story about life with optical atrophy is bound to make you realise just how well off we all are.
At the mere age of three, Annabelle was diagnosed with a condition that affects the optic nerve, which carries impulses from the eye to the brain. This condition means Annabelle struggles to see things that are far away, even her own mum’s face.
Annabelle’s mum Kellie-Anne bravely opened up about her daughter’s condition in an interview with Mummy Pages.
Kellie-Anne shared: “As a new mam, I didn’t know what to look for. I knew she couldn’t see very far, but I thought it was just all babies, but I didn’t have a clue.”
Annabelle was treated for a turn in her eye until a doctor referred her to an ophthalmologist, who found that her condition was a lot more severe than a turn in her eye.
The doctors struggled to find the reason for her condition, but an MRI thankfully ruled out a brain tumour, much to her parent's relief.
“She was too small to say I can’t see that or do this. It was hard for the doctors to get anything out of here, especially if she wasn’t familiar with them.”
There is nothing more devastating than your child being sick, but we tend to ignore the harrowing impact it has on parents.
Mum-of-three Kellie said she felt like she was on Auto-pilot for most of the time Annabelle was being tested: “It was horrible at the time. When you really start thinking about it you just feel so sad for them.”
“I was devastated at the time, but you don’t want to be upset around them. She’s still herself, I wouldn’t want her to be any different to who she is,” the mum shared.
“Life goes on while you’re dealing with the bad stuff that’s happening.”
Luckily, the mum reared quite the determined young girl and Annabelle refuses to let her condition hold her back. She’ll face many hurdles, but the inspirational young girl won’t let that stop her from living life to the full
The 6th class student has a huge support system at school, which means the world to her mum: “When I go to pick her up, even now, you can see them nudging her saying your mam is over there. She always has people who step in and give her a little hand.”
“It makes me feel better when I see them helping her, knowing she’s not alone.”
There are times when Kellie-Anne feels bad for her daughter but she doesn’t want her to feel like an outcast: “I don’t want to be going up to absolutely everybody saying she has a problem with her vision, because then it just singles her out.”
“I want them to like her for who she is and not as just this person who has a problem with her vision.”
There’s no doubt Annabelle will go above and beyond in life. Her mum revealed she is already making strides in the writing world.
“She wrote her book in brail and normal writing. She won it three years in a row and ever since then she has wanted to be an author.”
The budding author dreams of becoming a best-selling author and even has plans to travel the globe.
She’s even told her mam: “When I’m an author and travelling the world, you can mind my kids.”
Annabelle will sail through life with her sheer determination, a positive attitude and bright spirit.
World Sight Day takes place on October 11.