Editorial: Let's help families with kids fighting health battles

By Anita Moran

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Paul and Tammy Alderson with their son, Felix, who needs a new liver.
Paul and Tammy Alderson with their son, Felix, who needs a new liver.

Parents want to do everything they can to protect their children.

It must be heartbreaking to see one of your kids suffer through an illness or a disease.

This week we featured an article on Whangamata's Felix Alderson, who is on a waiting list for a new liver.

Felix isn't yet 1, but he has been in and out of hospital more times than his parents would care to remember.

At 6 weeks old, Felix was diagnosed with biliary atresia (BA), a disease that meant his bile ducts were not formed properly, so the bile could not drain into the intestine.

Instead it built up in his liver, causing irreversible damage and his only option now is a liver transplant.

Felix's health issues are understandably causing his parents huge emotional and financial stress.

Although this will be a harrowing time for them, they might be able to get hope from others.

In yesterday's Bay of Plenty Times, we heard from the parents of Tauranga 4-year-old Alicia Steenson.

In January she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia and has been undergoing treatment in Starship hospital but the pre-schooler is now in remission.

Alicia's parents believe her illness may be linked to methamphetamine contamination in a house they rented.

She has now entered her final round of chemotherapy and her father said there was now hope.

It must be hard having to see your child put through that sort of treatment and not know what the outcome will be, but having to try to stay positive regardless.

I couldn't imagine what that must feel like.

What has impressed me with both of these cases is the response these families have received from the community.

Both children have fundraising pages on website Give a Little, and they both have Facebook pages updating people about their progress.

Both Facebook pages have streams of positive messages, some from complete strangers. It is heartwarming to see the outpouring of support and well wishes and I hope this has been of some comfort to the families.

I wish both of these families the best of luck for whatever challenges they will have to face.

To donate to either Alicia or Felix visit www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/aliciakade or www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/FelixAlderson

- Bay of Plenty Times

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