Ariana Melrose

Ariana was born in 2008 with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. She lives in Western Sydney with her family and is the oldest of four girls. Ariana is a great role model to her three younger sisters, Emerald, Kensi and Havana.


Ariana loves to dance, it is her passion. When she is not dancing, you will find her with her head in a book. She has never let CDH get in the way of doing the things she loves or pursuing her dreams. If she ever has a set back, she finds a way to come back stronger then before. 

Q&A with Ariana and her mum, Jade


When and where were you born?
2008 at Westmead Hospital in NSW.


How was your CDH diagnosed?
My mum worked at a radiology practice while she was pregnant and a colleague of hers, who was a sonographer, also worked at the same local hospital.


When Mum went in for an antenatal appointment at 27 weeks, her college asked her to pop by the sonography suite so she could get some pictures and test out a new machine. It was then, they found out that something wasn’t right. Mum was then referred to Westmead Hospital who sent her for a MRI and confirmed that I had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.


How has having CDH impacted your life?
At first I became very sick when catching a cold or flu and would end up in hospital with respiratory issues. I also had a bowel obstruction caused by the scar tissue from my repair. Thankfully it corrected itself and I did not need another surgery.


Does CDH affect you in any way now? Do you have any ongoing CDH-related problems?
As I have gotten older, I have become stronger and more aware of my body. I don’t get as sick as often. I stay very active and try not to let CDH stop me from doing the things I love.


Sometimes I become short of breath, especially when I have back to back numbers to perform, but I have learnt when to stop and ‘recharge’ before getting back into it.


If you could tell a child with CDH one thing, what would it be?
Don’t give up!


Don’t let CDH define who you are. If you have a dream, follow it. We will have set backs and sometimes bigger hurdles to overcome then others, but keep working towards your dream.




What is life like at the moment? What does an average day look like for you?
I am currently attending a performing arts high school where I start at 7.30am and finish at 2.55pm. From there I head to my dance studio and attend classes until 8.30/9pm. On the weekends I am either rehearsing, catching up on school work or performing.


What are your hobbies and interests?
Dance is my main hobby and interest. I just love being able to express myself through movement. I feel free when dancing and all my worries disappear. I also love reading and writing short stories. Dinosaurs also fascinate me, I love learning about them. If I don’t become a dancer I would like to be a palaeontologist.


If you could tell a parent who has been told they have a baby with CDH one thing, what would it be? (Answered by Ariana’s mum, Jade.)
It is a long, scary and uncertain journey ahead but stay strong and stay positive. Lean on your family and friends and the CDH community, they are what will help you through the trying times. There is no right or wrong questions, ask them all! And lastly, don’t lose hope.

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