Guide Annas Story: A Life

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For 15 months she spent every other week in hospital but sadly, like so many children diagnosed with brain tumours, Anna lost her battle and passed away aged 3 years 8 months. She was an inspiration to everyone she met. Anna never once complained that she had lost her hair or had to be fed through a tube in her nose for 15 months.


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She was courageous! Even though she was frightened during the many times when she was in hospital, she never once refused to do what was asked of her. Despite the constant drain on her energy that comes with chemotherapy, Anna was full of life, full of character and full of mischief.

It is a tragedy that someone so young should die and my husband Rob, daughter Sara and I miss her so much. I was anxious simply about being alive. The worst of the anxiety was around sleep. It was anxiety over whether my body and mind would let me fall asleep. This anxiety was not just mental. In fact, the mental aspect of it was the easiest. The hardest was the physical. My anxiety manifested in such a demonic physical way that I literally felt like I had a fire raging within me.

Anna’s Story: “Link Up has been Life-Changing”

It felt like I was burning alive. There were many times it was so bad I literally thought my body was breaking down and that I was in fact dying. I had a fire raging and burning inside. At night is when I struggled the most. Nights were dead still and quiet. The whole house asleep including the baby.

Everyone was asleep. Everyone, except me. It was the middle of winter and I lay in bed in my summer nighty and I was tossing and turning. My arms were flapping. I felt like I was having convulsions. I was sweating profusely. My heart beating a million miles an hour. My internal fire raging uncontrollably.

Again, I literally felt like I was physically dying. Like my mind and body were shutting down. Every minute felt like an eternity. Not even for a minute.

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Nights felt like an eternity. After five days and nights like this I was out of control. I was beside myself. I was in physical pain and felt like I was being tortured. My baby was perfect. Happy, healthy and picture perfect. There was nothing wrong with my baby. There was nothing wrong with my relationship with my baby.

There was just something wrong with me. At that point, I was sobbing uncontrollably. The depression had well and truly set in. As my baby slept I was frantically going over in my head ways to end it all. I was desperate to end my life. I felt like my mind and body had been taken over by demons and the only way to stop it was to end my life. My biggest fear, however, was being unsuccessful and spending the rest of my life as a burden to my family.

Anna’s Story

But, nevertheless I became obsessed with ending it all. Everywhere I turned, I was having visions of how it might happen. My eyes darting from side to side. My eyes eagerly awaiting the doctor to call my name all whilst the fire raged within. I knew what I wanted.

Anna's Story :HarperCollins Australia

I wanted help. When the doctor called me in I begged him to give me medication that would end it all for me. I was sobbing uncontrollably, hysterical with fear and anxiety.

A life destroyed, a family devastated, a community in shock. Bronwyn Donaghy interviewed friends, family members and numerous professionals in order to write the story of the circumstances surrounding Anna's death and of her family's decision to try and turn tragedy into a positive force for good. It is a story of our times, a story with powerful resonances for Anna's generation and their parents, for counsellors, doctors and teachers, for anyone who values the sanctity of life.

I vowed never to take drugs again but it's just a shame it took the life of a beautiful, talented girl to make me realise how dangerous it was.

Life at Home Around the World: Anna’s Story

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