Susannah has an auto-immune disease called Pauci-immune glomerulonephritis, which is a condition in which your immune system attacks your own healthy cells.
Susannah became unwell in April 2012 – she had no prior history of kidney problems nor any family history. Very suddenly, Susannah went from being an active sportsperson playing soccer and volleyball (ACT U17 squad) to being unable to walk 50m without feeling extremely tired and nauseous.
She was air lifted to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney (April 1012) since there was no paediatric renal treatment in Canberra at that time. Susannah experienced several extended stays at Westmead for treatment and at one point, was travelling 3 times a week to Westmead to have Haemodialysis (cleansing of blood to remove toxins and return clean blood). After a few months, Susannah’s dialysis was changed to Peritoneal dialysis which could be performed at home every night. She did this for one year prior to her transplant.
Susannah received a kidney transplant in August 2013, one day before her 16th birthday. Susannah received her father, Geoff’s, left kidney, which was removed in the morning at Westmead Hospital and carried next door to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for Susannah’s operation that afternoon.
Unfortunately, Susannah’s auto-immune disease returned in late 2016 and attacked Susannah’s transplanted kidney. Her renal function slowly deteriorated through 2017 and in March 2018, she needed to start Haemodialysis three times a week again, utilising the Tuggeranong Dialysis unit.
Her second kidney transplant was in November 2018 at Westmead Hospital, with Susannah receiving her mother, Janette’s, left kidney, in back to back operations. She was out of hospital within 5 days and back home to Canberra on the 6th day after the operations.
During this time, Susannah finished high school and college, and commenced a Bachelor of Nursing at University of Canberra, which she graduated from in 2020. She also continued to work part-time at her local pharmacy and travelled to Europe for holidays.