Family Stories

Read about the heartbreak and the hope for Australian children and their families impacted by Sanfilippo Syndrome.

OLIVER MCCOOMBES

Oliver McCoombes is full of endless energy but unlike most four-year-olds, Oliver, aka ‘Ollie’, is battling the childhood dementia, Sanfilippo. His parents Catherine and Philllip describe Ollie as an "affectionate and very active little boy", so being told he won’t be like that forever, they say, "is one of the worst things a parent can hear". 

READ OLIVER'S STORY

JACOB CHALMERS

Our lives were in those few minutes following diagnosis, seemingly destroyed. Every day we got up with this great black shadow looming over our family. Yet we had to get up and make every day a special, wonderful and happy new day for Jacob. We love this little man so much and we are haunted by the days we may never spend with him. But this is not about us, this is about Jacob and our hope for Jacob.

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PETER CHALOUHY

We got Peter’s diagnosis four days before his fourth birthday, while I was heavily pregnant with our third child Natalie. Peter had been going to St Demiana Child Care where he was in an early intervention program and already seeing an OT and speech therapist every week.

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ISLA & JUDE DONNELL

When our son, Jude, was born in 2011 we felt our family was complete. Big sister, Isla, who was just under 2 at the time, fell in love with Jude immediately as did we all. We considered ourselves blessed having two happy, healthy children and we had such hope for our future. 

READ ISLA & JUDE'S STORY

SAM GAUCI

Sam Gauci lost his fight to Sanfilippo Syndrome on 21/08/18. He was just 12 years old. Sam is sadly missed by his mother Anne Marie, father Craig and little brother Tom.

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CODY HESLOP

On the 29th of October 2010 at 1.10pm we were told of Cody’s diagnosis of Sanfilippo Syndrome (MPSIIIA). We cried more than I ever thought it was possible to cry. Cody was 9 years old.

READ CODY'S STORY

KYUSS JOHNSON

When Kyuss was born five weeks premature, he was born ‘with the caul’, which means the amniotic sac was still intact over his head and face. It is considered quite rare and is meant to be good luck.

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JOBE KOISTINEN

Timothy and Tenille Koistinen are the proud parents of two-year-old twins Tate and Jobe. In March 2018, this Melbourne family's lives were turned upside down when their son Jobe was diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome. At the tender age of two, Jobe's life, while only just beginning, will be cut short by  Sanfilippo. Jobe's mother shares her hopes for further scientific breakthroughs and her bucket list for Jobe.

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ALEC MORRICE

Alec entered our world almost two years to the day after his big sister Sienna. A nuchal fold scan had shown the possiblity of a child with Downs Syndrome. After a nervous wait, the results of an amniocentesis returned negative for any of the tested genetic abnormalities. We were reassured our child would have the same opportunities as any other child entering the world.

READ ALEC'S STORY

MECKENZIE OELOFSEN

I chose to start our story from this point in our lives as previous to arriving in Australia, we lived a relatively normal life. Our children were happy and healthy, and as a family, we were content, with nothing out of the ordinary to report.

READ MECKENZIE'S STORY

MATILDA PAGE

Sanfilippo has already devestated my husband's family once. Lachlan's oldest brother had Sanfilippo Syndrome. While planning our pregnancy, we asked doctors about Sanfilippo as we knew Lachlan was more than likely to be a carrier due to his older brother Quinnton. We were told "not to worry" as the chances of me also being a carrier were so small. After Matilda (Tilly) was born we requested a screening for peace of mind. Matilda's mother Kate shares her story...

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SKYE ROBSON

Both our children were born in Bangkok, where I lived for 12 years working in the adventure travel industry. It was during this time that I met my wife, Wanna, or as she is known "Daeng". Thai people believe that evil spirits are attracted to young children, so in order to confuse them children are given two names: their official name and a nickname.

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JONATHAN & LAURA SMIT

Our lives changed in an instant in 2000 with the devastating news that both our children had been diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome (MPSIIIA), an auto recessive genetic disease where the statistics are 1 in 4 chance of being affected and we got 2 out of 2!

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LUCAS TIEFEL

When Phil and Rohanne Tiefel discovered they were having twins they were in disbelief. Just before Christmas 2014 they became the proud parents of two tiny little men – Lucas and Dominic. In 2017, they found themselves in disbelief once again when one of their twin boys – their little ‘blonde bombshell’ – Lucas, was diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome. Mum Rohanne shares her family's journey and explains why they are full of Hope for Lucas.

READ LUCAS'S STORY