We’re proud to introduce six-year-old Quinnie as the face of the 2020 Good Friday Appeal.
Quinnie’s journey at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) started when she was just a few hours old, her dramatic arrival into the world something that parents Clare and Jarrod weren’t expecting. At 34 weeks gestation and despite a relatively straightforward pregnancy for identical twins Harriet and Quinnie, Clare woke one morning in shock, one of the girls wasn’t moving and she could barely feel the other. A trip to the hospital confirmed their worst fears, Harriet had passed away from the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and in two other places and Quinnie was in extreme danger as a consequence. Clare immediately underwent an emergency caesarean and when Quinnie arrived she wasn’t breathing. Her tiny body was swollen with excess fluid. Quinnie was born with severe kidney damage and she was going to need emergency interventions to survive.
For Quinnie, her failing kidneys were life threatening. As her tiny body swelled with extra water and waste, the family were urgently transferred to the RCH, where she was immediately placed in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Too young and unstable to be a candidate for a kidney transplant, clinical teams knew her best chance of survival was to place her on dialysis, a physical device which takes over the role of kidneys by filtering and purifying the blood.
When Quinnie was finally stable enough to leave hospital, Clare and Jarrod took their nearly four month old baby home for the first time where they meticulously continued her medical care.
For Clare and Jarrod, the most important thing was to get Quinnie strong enough to be a candidate for a kidney transplant.
Jarrod and Clare underwent the necessary tests to determine if they could donate a kidney to Quinnie. The devastation of learning that neither of them were a match was a complete shock and in desperation they began exploring further options, turning to family members for support.
For Jarrod’s dad Rod, known affectionately as Pa to Quinnie, it was a no brainer – if he could help, he wanted to. Tests indicated that although he wasn’t a match to Quinnie, he was a potential match for another candidate, giving him the power to ultimately save two lives via the Paired Kidney Exchange. This nation-wide program, pioneered in Australia in 2010, was established to match healthy donors who were unfortunately incompatible with their recipient with those in a pool of other incompatible pairs. Once a match is found, kidneys are exchanged between pairs to allow each recipient to receive a kidney from a matching donor.
Aged two, the family waited desperately for a match for Quinnie. The call came when the family were inpatients at the RCH. An incredibly complicated procedure requiring precision timing and the best medical minds, four donor surgeries were undertaken simultaneously to allow the exchange of kidneys and four transplants.
Thanks to the expert care from her clinical team at the RCH, Quinnie shone through the surgery and nearly three years later she is still delighting her family, clinicians and RCH staff with her bravery, resilience and charm.
Thanks to your generous support, we can make a difference to children like Quinnie and support world-leading care at the RCH. Click here to donate today to the Good Friday Appeal.
Watch her inspiring story below.