PARENTS

Girl Unable To Sleep With Teddies As Rare Illness Means Slightest Touch Causes Deadly Bleeding

04/08/2015 11:29 BST | Updated 04/08/2015 11:59 BST

A six-year-old girl is unable to ride bikes, attend sports day or sleep with her teddies, because the slightest touch will cause her to bruise and bleed internally.

Annabelle Griffin, from Bury, Lancashire, has Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (vascular EDS), a rare genetic disorder that causes easy and unexplained bruising.



Annabelle's mum, Sarah Griffin, 37, gave up her job as an Ofsted advisor to care for her daughter full-time.

She said, according to the Daily Mail: "If I hold Annabelle's hand to cross the road it gives her a large bruise. Some of her bruises are so big and dark that they can last up to a month.

"When Annabelle was little we couldn't let her sleep with her dummy because if it fell out during the night and she rolled on top of it she would get a large bruise in the morning."

According to the NHS, the fragile skin and unstable joints found in people with EDS may be the result of faulty collagen. The condition causes spontaneous organ ruptures and cannot be cured. Sufferers have a typical life expectancy of just 51.

Griffin described her daughter as being "like the princess from The Princess and the Pea", because she will be feel (and could be bruised by) the slightest lump in her bed.

She added that when the family go out for the day, having a daughter with constant bruises draws criticism and funny looks from people they pass in the street.

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Posted by Annabelle's Challenge for Vascular EDS on Thursday, 23 July 2015


Griffin said as a baby, Annabelle developed marks on her legs just after having her nappy changed.

She and her husband Jared, 43, decided to take Annabelle to hospital and she was diagnosed with vascular EDS in December 2012.

Griffin said, according to the Daily Mail: "Since Annabelle was diagnosed with vascular EDS I've lost count of the amount of times we have had to take her to hospital. We are on first name terms with everybody there."

She said she is fully aware one day in the future she will have to have a serious conversation with her daughter about her future, having been told it's unlikely she will be able to have children and her condition puts her at risk of aneurysms.


Despite her condition, Annabelle's parents still want her to be able to have fun.

Griffin said she and her husband recently bought their daughter a bike that she is allowed to play on for five minutes at a time.

Annabelle has also joined Rainbows (the junior Girl Guides) which her mum said she is "really enjoying".

Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there and to Annabelles mum, Sarah, hope you've enjoyed your day so far 👸😄 #mothersday

A photo posted by Annabelle's Challenge (@ajschallenge) on


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The couple have set up a registered charity called Annabelle's Challenge in their daughter's name and devote their time to raising awareness of her condition.

Mr Griffin, who has taken time out of his management job to work on the charity full time, said: "We set up Annabelle's Challenge in the hope of raising awareness of vascular EDS and to help fund vital research into the condition.

"We want to offer support to other people who are living with vascular EDS and hopefully generate enough funding so that the medical profession can one day find a cure."

To find out more Annabelle's charity visit the website here.

Children With Chronic Illnesses