Madison, 2, needs 'new tummy'
Two-year-old Madison Merrick needs "a new tummy" if she is to get a chance at a normal life.
The North Shore toddler was born with a defect known as gastroschisis, meaning her bowel was on the outside of her body.
She underwent surgery a few hours after she was born but was left with short gut syndrome which prevents her from eating. She is fed intravenously and has lived in Starship Hospital for all but six months of her life.
Mum Alana Merrick is on a mission to raise money so that Madison can recieve a bowel transplant. The procedure is not available here, so the family hopes Madison will be accepted into Birmingham Children's Hospital within the next year.
Madison will become the third - and youngest - New Zealander to receive a bowel transplant if she is accepted.
''She deserves the chance to live a normal life,'' Merrick said.
''At the moment she is hooked up 24 hours on antibiotics and intravenous nutrition. There's no quality of life in that.''
Madison will need to stay on in the UK for a minimum of two years in case of complications if the transplant goes ahead.
Merrick has applied to the Ministry of Health to fund the medical expenses, but travel and living costs will not be covered.
''If we get accepted we get thrown into a foreign country where I won't be eligible to work. But this is the only option.''
Madison has been battling constant life threatening infections of her intravenous lines since March.
There are only a handful of veins big enough for her intravenous nutrition to be administered, but due to these infections Madison is running out of suitable veins and without this she could starve.
''Her bowel has a mind of its own. Sometimes it absorbs nutrients, but most of the time it doesn't. If she did eat it would go straight through her or back up,'' Merrick said.
Madison has only been able to eat a few times and says her favourite food is McDonald's fries.
''I need a new tummy so I can eat. I want to be free,'' Madison said.
A Facebook page has been set up for people who wish to donate and to follow Madison's journey.
- Auckland Now
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