Beg­ging for help to bring our girl home


THE par­ents of a crit­i­cally-ill lit­tle girl on life sup­port in Mex­ico have begged the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment to help bring their daugh­ter home.

Five-year-old Annabelle Nguyen has been re­ceiv­ing ex­per­i­men­tal chemo­ther­apy for her brain cancer for the past year at a clinic in Mon­ter­rey, Mex­ico.

Now her par­ents are trapped be­cause they can­not af­ford to pay for her to stay on life sup­port and can­not af­ford to bring her home, ei­ther.

The Nguyen fam­ily only went to Mex­ico af­ter Aus­tralian doc­tors told them noth­ing could be done to save their daugh­ter.

At her di­ag­no­sis three years ago, doc­tors here gave Annabelle only 9-12 months to live.

In Fe­bru­ary, The Sun­day Tele­graph re­ported scans from her Mex­i­can doc­tors showed she had no ev­i­dence of the deadly dif­fuse in­trin­sic pon­tine glioma (DIPG), a brain tu­mour that is in­op­er­a­ble and fa­tal.

But, in early May, the tu­mours re­turned and fur­ther treat­ment left her in a coma.

Her par­ents have al­ready sold their home to pay $300,000 for the treat­ment.

In Mex­ico they are be­ing charged $2300 a day for life sup­port — a treat­ment she has been on since May 3 lead­ing to a bill that is now nudg­ing $70,000.

Sandy and Trung Nguyen said from Mex­ico that they are trapped with­out help from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

“I feel so hope­less, it’s bad enough to be in this sit­u­a­tion and not get­ting any help,” Mrs Nguyen said.

“Annabelle re­mains in a coma and she doesn’t breathe on her own so we can­not take a nor­mal flight home.

“That’s why I reached out to them to see if they can pro­vide an am­bu­lance flight.

“We can­not af­ford any­thing, we are com­pletely out of money, bank­rupt. We can- not stay but we can­not leave ei­ther given the cir­cum­stances. I want to take Annabelle back for bet­ter care and a chance to live.”

Mrs Nguyen said the Aus­tralian con­sular team in Mex­ico had in­formed her they don’t pro­vide as­sis­tance to take Aus­tralian cit­i­zens home. “They rec­om­mended us to have a Gofundme ac­count,” she said.

The fam­ily al­ready has one — but it has been drained by the hospi­tal fees.

The De­part­ment of For- eign Affairs and Trade said it was “pro­vid­ing con­sular as­sis­tance” to the fam­ily but re­fused to com­ment fur­ther.

Mrs Nguyen said she had been con­tacted by con­sular of­fi­cials in Mex­ico on Thurs­day who had re­quested med­i­cal doc­u­ments to send back to Aus­tralia for as­sess­ment.

Annabelle Nguyen with her par­ents in the play­ground at the Mex­i­can clinic. Pic­ture: Nathan Ed­wards

Annabelle has been in a coma since Ma y 3.

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