An Irish toddler, who spent six months in the U.S. receiving life changing treatment, has learned how to walk and eat.
Elie Madden, 2, was flown to Boston by the Irish Air Corps in November 2011, for a revolutionary procedure where surgeons grew a new oesophagus.
Elie was born with the digestive disorder severe posterior tracheomalacia and long-gap esophageal atresia, which meant there was a five centimeter gap between her esophagus and stomach. As a result of her condition, Elie was unable to eat, drink or swallow without the use of medical equipment.
Using the Foker technique, doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital successfully closed the gap between her oesophagus and stomach over a five-month advanced treatment period.
The tot, who was has a healthy twin sister called Emie, underwent 11 surgures in Boston and was in a 5-week induced coma also before she returned to Ireland in April of last year.
In May, Elie underwent a three-week program at Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin, to wean her off her feeding tube.
Parents, Esti and Eddie, who live in Santry in North Dublin, are delighted with her progress.
Esti told the Irish Mirror: “She’s eating now and consumes 800ml of food a day, which is absolutely fantastic as it’s a big step closer to normality.
“She was weaned successfully off her tubes and we now spoon-feed her a special supplement yoghurt, which contains higher vitamins and calories to build her up, as she lost 7 percent of her body weight in hospital.
“It’s all new to her, as up to recently she had no idea what food was. But in time she’ll learn to feed herself and then move on to solid foods.”
Esti said the future has never looked as bright for her daughter.
She added: “She’s thriving and has so much energy. She can’t walk yet, but she’s making good progress.
“Her sister is a big part of her progress, because they have a close bond and she spurs her on.
“She can also count to 30 and say all her colors, which is incredible because she couldn’t make any sounds for the first 18 months of her life and only made her first baby sounds a year ago.”
Watch a video of Elie walking below