Include a Charity Week

Write a Will for FREE and help sick kids like Abigail

2 August 2023 | Expected time to read: 5 minutes

Abigail, multiple treating departments

Monday 4 September marks the beginning of Include a Charity Week 2023, an annual, nation-wide, social change campaign that aims to raise awareness of the importance of having a Will and encourages more people to include a charitable gift in their Will.  

From 4-10 September 2023 as part of Include a Charity Week, you can write a Will online COMPLETELY FREE.

At Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation, we know that including a charity in your Will is a very personal decision. It’s an important and lasting declaration of your values and beliefs that you and your loved ones can be proud of for a long time to come. This sentiment is reflected in this year’s Include a Charity theme, Will Wonders Never Cease
 
Small but mighty Abigail and her family have experienced the wonders made possible by generous Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation  (SCHF) supporters. By her first birthday, Abigail had received care from many of the expert clinical teams across Sydney Children's Hospitals Network. This included an emergency transfer to Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH) via Newborn Emergency and paediatric Transport Service (NETS), many weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and the discovery of a rare, potentially life threatening, genetic condition Hypopituitarism. 
 
In early 2021, amidst the uncertainty of lockdowns and a global pandemic, Adrienne and her husband Aaron received the wonderful news that their first embryo transfer was successful, and their little girl Abigail was on her way.    
  
At 20 weeks pregnant, Adrienne’s sonographer referred her to the cardiology department at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead to investigate a possible heart defect. It’s here that their long healthcare journey began. While thankfully Abigail’s heart condition wasn’t too concerning, doctors were alarmed that her growth was quite slow and restricted, so delivered her early via an emergency caesarean at 37 weeks. 

Abigail in Intensive Care at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick

“Our local hospital initially thought she had late onset sepsis so put her on a ventilator and transferred her to NICU. It was then we first met the angels at NETS, not realising we’d need them again so soon...”. Abigail was treated and discharged just in time for Christmas, which Adrienne can only describe as “amazing.” The doting new parents thought their days spent on the wards in NICU were behind them, until she progressively started eating less and experienced an urgent medical episode at home.

“One day, Abigail was quite lethargic and wasn’t responding well. I called my mum and dad who tried to alleviate my anxiety and worries, but a few hours later, Abigail turned blue.”   
  
Paramedics and doctors at their local hospital resuscitated Abigail, but with her condition still critical, the team at NETS were called in for an emergency transfer to Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.  
    
“I was in shutdown mode, going through all the motions. I still remember the doctors telling me to be prepared because they didn’t think she was going to survive the night. No one knew what was going on.”   
  
An MRI on her brain revealed her pituitary gland was not producing enough critical hormones like cortisol, growth hormone and thyroid hormone. The lack of cortisol also led to Abigail experiencing adrenal insufficiency which was caused by the condition Hypopituitarism.  Without medication, this can be life threatening. The critical discovery provided Abigail’s multi-disciplinary team with the answers they needed to save her life, but the cause of her rare condition was still unknown.   
  
Further testing revealed Abigail had a genetic variant that is known to be associated with her condition however, the variant was only in one copy of the gene – something that has not been seen at the hospital before.   
  
The incredible genetics team at SCH turned to colleagues internationally, searching for more information and similar cases, to help devise the very best long-term treatment plan for Abigail.  
   
After 5 weeks in intensive care, Abigail returned home where she belongs and while she is on regular medication, she is now doing incredibly well. The cheeky one-year-old loves watching Dorothy the Dinosaur from the Wiggles and last year conquered City2Surf’s notorious heartbreak hill from the comfort of her pram.   

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Looking back, Adrienne and Aaron say they’re forever grateful to the extraordinary clinicians who cared for Abigail in those critical moments.

It’s thanks to the generosity of SCHF supporters that we were able to fund two senior positions in the Gene Therapy Research Unit at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network to help transform the lives of children with rare genetic conditions, like Abigail.

We would like to invite you to create a legacy and join the unique group of people who have committed to leaving a gift in their Will to SCHF. By leaving a gift in your Will to SCHF, even as little as 1%, you can help make great healthcare, extraordinary healthcare.

Making or changing your Will to include a charitable gift to SCHF can be as simple as contacting your legal advisor and they will do all the important work for you. Alternatively, you could use an online option to create a simple Will.
 
We’ve partnered with Safewill, Australia’s highest rated Will writing platform. Safewill makes it quick, easy, and affordable to write your bespoke Will online. You’ll be able to write a Will in as little as 20 minutes, and have it reviewed by Safewill’s legal team to ensure it has been filled out correctly.

From 4-10 September as part of Include a Charity Week 2023, SCHF is pleased to offer our wonderful supporters the opportunity to write a Will COMPLETELY FREE.

If you are making a Will and interested in leaving a gift to help children like Abigail, please contact us on 1800 770 122 or plannedgiving@schf.org.au.

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