Sarah Morrell, Whanganui

Sarah was born with a rare genetic condition known as Morquio IV.  This means she is missing an enzyme to remove the toxins that build up in her bones and joints.  As a result Sarah's bones are weak and floppy and her growth has been limited.  But that hasn't stopped her aiming to be 'the best that she can be'.

Sarah had several operations as a youngster in Starship to help stabilise and reinforce her joints and spine.  Unfortunately they weren't able to save her ability to walk and she now gets around with the help of a high tech wheelchair.

Sarah's parents Lynda and Ben want their daughter to have every opportunity that other children have and have always taught her to focus on what she has, not what she hasn't got.

"We just loved Sarah from the day she was born. There was no negotiation about the love you felt for that baby in your arms. And it doesn't just stop because you're faced with trauma or something scary or different."

Much of Sarah's ongoing treatment at Starship takes place on the Level 6 Medical Specialities Ward where she undertakes regular sleep studies to monitor her breathing and the use of a special machine which regulates her oxygen intake at night.  Sarah has told her story to help with the fundraising $5 million for our Level Six Rebuild Project.

None of this has stopped Sarah from growing into an inspirational young woman.  She told us "I want to be the best I can be.  I think I am a really lucky girl. Even though I have this disability, I don't let it get me down. I love to swim, have loads of fun with my friends, shop, be with my family and most of all I love to travel.

I am free, I am me. I am a girl who will try as hard as I can to touch the top of the world.

Sarah Morrell

age 7 2003


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