LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - All any parents could ever hope and pray for is to have a healthy and happy baby.
The Fowler family got a joyous baby in their 8-month-old daughter Amelia, but her health has been quite the challenge to deal with. Amelia is in desperate need of a liver transplant, something that could cost her parents more than they can afford to spend.
If it wasn't for the feeding tube hugging her cheek, you'd would think Amelia was just like any other baby. While the tube is just a small sign of her fight, Amelia is all smiles despite the hardships.
"About four days after birth, she was diagnosed with what they call Biliary atresia,” said her father, Jack Fowler.
After a normal pregnancy and birth, Jack and Mary Lu Fowler got the news no parents wanted to hear. Their baby was sick.
"She has a malfunction in her biliary Tract that goes from her liver through her core bile duct and out through her small intestine," her father explained. "So she had a blockage that didn't allow the biliary to go through."
"Bile, which is a caustic agent, backs up in to the liver and causes scarring and that scarring causes hardening of the liver. That eventually causes cirrhosis and you have to have a liver transplant," said Jeanne Hadley, a Specialty Nurse at Arkansas Children's Hospital.
Amelia is one of only about ten patients with Biliary atresia she has cared for over the course of her career.
It's hard to imagine such a young child having to go through such an intense procedure, but for the Fowler's, a liver transplant is Amelia's best shot. They turned their attention to getting Amelia ready for surgery, including bearing the cost.
"We spoke with another family while we were in St. Louis that we've kind of grown close to," Amelia's father said. "Their daughter went through a very similar case as we are going through and has actually been transplanted, and I think it was around $1 million. They call her the Million Dollar Baby, so it is quite expensive.”
Ryan Ritchie is a parent himself. He heard about Amelia's story and knew he had to help in someway.
"I actually had a niece named Amelia who went through something very similar, which was king of odd how that worked out. We just wanted to help out any way we could,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie, who owns Rock City Outfitters, put together a t-shirt to raise money for not only Amelia, but kids just like her. He said they only expected to print around 100 shirts, but have already gotten over 600 requests for the shirt.
"It is amazing to know that the support we have already received that someone wanted to reach out and make this shirt for us. It's something we would have never really asked for, or tried to do ourselves, but the fact they want to do this for us and for Amelia, and the response we've received so far is overwhelming,” said Amelia's mother, Mary Lu.
The money raised from sales of Amelia's t-shirt will go to the Children's Organ Transplant Association in Amelia's honor.
It is available at Rock City Outfitters.
You can find them here: https://www.rockcityoutfitters.com/products/pray-for-amelia-fundraiser-tee
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