Little Jemimah Friend’s infectious giggle and merry personality mask her excruciating pain. The happy-go-lucky five-year-old suffers from the brittle bone disease osteogenesis imperfecta, so her bones are easily fractured.
“We’ve lost count of how many times she’s broken bones,” says her dad, Mark. “Let’s just say there are well over 35 documented incidents where she’s had to have either surgery or casts. She’s a very brave little girl who has known shocking pain all her life.”
Jemimah, from Coffs Harbour, NSW, has been a regular visitor to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, since birth. She was born with fractures that occurred in the womb.
For the first three months of her life, Jemimah was virtually wrapped in cotton wool. Her parents could not hold their beautiful baby girl for fear of breaking her. “I felt so crushed,” says Naomi. “Whenever I’d see other mums holding their babies, I just so desperately wanted to be able to do that too.
“Even now, we have to be ever so careful. But her beautiful personality has kept us all going. “I really don’t think Jemimah has been out of pain for two years. She’s a little fighter, she’s courageous and brave. She’s got such an amazing spirit.”
The Teddy Bears’ Picnic, held to raise funds for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, is on in Sydney on Sunday, October 17. Visit www.teddybearspicnic.com.au for more details.
Related videos: More amazing medical stories from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney.