CITY of Swan residents will have extra impetus to give generously to Telethon this year, with Caversham girl Charlotte Meredith named as one of the Telethon Stars for 2018.
To say that 6-year-old Charlotte has had a hard start to life would be an understatement, but her mother Taryn says her little girl is a fighter, and has been before she was even born
“It was picked up in the 27th week of my pregnancy, that Charlotte had Pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum and a hypoplastic right ventrical.
“That basically means part of her heart was underdeveloped and was never going to grow properly, and there was a blockage between the left and right sides of her heart.
“We were told at that diagnosis that she would require surgery after she was born… so Charlotte has had four surgeries, the first was at eight days old, the second was at 10 months, 18 months and then four years of age.”
Charlotte’s diagnosis meant moving the Meredith family from Esperance to Caversham two years ago, where Charlotte attends Caversham Primary School.
Now a big sister to three-year-old Caitlyn, Charlotte doesn’t let her condition hold her back, but that doesn’t mean Taryn doesn’t fear for her future.
“She doesn’t let her condition hold her back and she’s been lucky enough that she’s been healthy enough to live a normal life like children her age.
“It’s our greatest fear that we may out-live her, but the future is unknown.
“Children who have had the same surgery as Charlotte are only coming in to their late 20s, early 30s.
“We don’t really know what the future holds beyond that, but we’re hopeful that by the time Charlotte reaches that age there has been some medical advancement. “
Telethon will play a big part in that advancement.
On Wednesday, Charlotte was out shaking the tin for the first time at Swan Community Care, meeting with City of Swan Deputy Mayor Kevin Bailey.
Her school is also doing a fundraiser, and her father Simon is fundraising through his work with Rio Tinto.
“We’ve got a really supportive community behind us,” Taryn said.
“Every dollar for Telethon is fantastic.
“She really suprised us, we don’t realise how resilient children are, she doesn’t complain and just keeps going.
“I think at the moment Charotte doesn’t realise the enormity of the Telethon experience, it’s a bit of fun for her at the moment but as she gets older I think she’ll start to realise it.
“Caitlyn is only three years old so she doesn’t know what’s going on but she does enjoy seeing her big sister on the television.”
Telethon weekend runs from October 20 to October 21, and you can donate online at www.telethon7.com/donate