THE family of a seriously ill baby have raised money for the charity that has helped them deal with every parent’s worst nightmare.
Little Ava Andrews was born three weeks premature – weighing just 3lb 11oz – on January 3, with a complication called gastroschisis that meant her bowel was on the outside of her body.
Her parents Leanne Willmore and Nick Andrews, of Ellesmere Port, had hoped the operation to rectify the disorder would be a simple one, and that Ava would be back home with them in a fortnight.
The couple, both 24, were devastated when their tiny daughter’s bowel was perforated during an emergency Caesarian at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Ava was rushed to intensive care, where she was given two blood transfusions.
Leanne said: “When she was born I didn’t realise Ava’s bowel was perforated.
“They were taking a long time cleaning her up and I heard her cry but then the doctors told us what happened and rushed her away.
“It was horrible. They said they were going to do all they could and they asked us if we had thought of a name for her yet.
“When you hear that you think the worst – they obviously thought that she wasn’t going to make it.”
When medics eventually stabilised her in intensive care she was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where she has remained receiving specialised care ever since.
The couple, who attended Whitby High School together, are being accommodated in the Ronald McDonald House so they can be by their baby’s side.
Nick works at Vauxhall and travels to the plant for day and night shifts while Leanne stays with her daughter.
Ava is not able to absorb or digest foods normally and is fed intravenously with a formula which contains all the nutrients she needs to survive.
Leanne said: “The doctors think it will be at least six months before she can come home.
“We’re taking it one day at a time. Ava’s growing and weighs nine pounds now. Ava will need full-time care.
“We’ve had our ups and downs getting our heads around it but our family and friends have been supporting us.”
Ava has developed liver disease, a common result of extended use of the intravenous formula which is keeping her alive.
On Saturday a football match was held at The Grove Sports & Social Club, with players paying £10 each toward the fund.
Even Leanne’s 50-year-old mum took to the field for 20 minutes to help raise £3,643 on the night.
The cash will go to Ronald McDonald House as well as two wards at Alder Hey where Ava was treated.