Kaleigh is a 9 1/2 year old girl who has underwent more than her fair share of medical complications.
Kaleigh was born at the IWK Health Centre in Nova Scotia with a birth defect called Gastroschisis. This is where the muscles of the abdominal wall do not form correctly and a hole occurs on the right side of the belly button. In some cases multiple organs will extend to the outside of the body through this hole and after birth, surgery is needed to put the organs back inside of the body. In Kaleighs case , it was only her intestines that were protruding through the hole. But her intestines were too damaged to put back inside. Minutes after she was born she was rushed into surgery to remove over half of her intestines. She now had complications with feeding , digestion and absorption which meant she needed to be put on an IV nutrition. What the parents were unaware of at this time was that this IV nutrition was damaging to the liver. So at just 4 months old Kaleighs 17 year old mother, Echo, and 20 year old father, Jewell, were told that she would need to be flown to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto for a week for an assessment on the liver. Once they arrived and met with the medical team the decision was made that Kaleigh needed a liver transplant and would need to stay at SickKids while they waited for the new organ. When Kaleigh was just 8 months old she had received her life saving transplant. But she wasn't able to go home just yet. She was still facing many medical complications due to her intestinal condition so they would need to remain in Toronto until she could become more stable. Kaleigh was 18 months old by the time she had her first discharge. At this time the family had to relocate to Toronto so they could be close by the hospital , in order for Kaleigh to get the proper care that she needed.
Kaleigh is now almost 10 years old , and has spent more than half of her life at SickKids. And although this family had to relocate to Toronto , they were very fortunate to be able to fly home from time to time depending on Kaleighs medical status. But three years ago Kaleighs liver started to deteriorate due to the fact that she was still dependant on the same IV nutrition that had damaged her first liver. She was now in desperate need of a second liver transplant. For the past two Christmas' we have tried to get her home but she was just too medically fragile to fly. Now that she has had her second liver transplant she is the happiest and healthiest she has ever been in a very long time! After a long wait she has finally gotten the green light from her medical team that she is stable enough to fly home for the Holidays.
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