SUBLIMELY gifted but riddled with physical dysfunction and disease, Annaliese Porter has led a life of contrasts.
A published author at eight, the Calala child prodigy was reading at two and captured the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award at just 10, even earning a standing ovation the following year at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Her precociousness meant her teachers at Hillvue Public School would often turn to her in class for answers they didn’t know themselves, but her academic brilliance was always tempered by the dark pall of sickness.
Annaliese has endured a catalogue of afflictions almost too numerous to mention – Asperger’s syndrome, multiple brain tumours, epilepsy, diabetes, scoliosis and hearing and vision impairment.
Today, Annaliese is 20 and pursuing her dream of studying at university, but while her knowledge is expanding, her family’s ability to pay for her medical bills is sinking.
Annaliese’s mum Megan, a sole parent living on a carer’s allowance, said the financial impost of a daughter with so many competing conditions had her at breaking point.
“I feel like I have so many issues to deal with that money should be the last thing I need to worry about, but it’s always the first,” she said.
“I’ve been to almost every charity in town and I’m pretty much not welcome at them any more. We’ve been to some pretty dark places but you have to stay positive.”
Annaliese’s grandmother Margaret Porter is organising a series of fundraisers for the family.
“The family wouldn’t be able to eat some days if I didn’t help,” Mrs Porter said.
“They have to go see doctors in Newcastle, professors in Sydney – it all adds up. And they just seem to fall through the cracks when it comes to getting help.”
If you can donate time or money to the Annaliese Porter fundraiser, call Margaret Porter on 0427 564 814.