- THANK YOU TO APOLLO FLOORINGIN TUCSON FOR YOUR GENEROUS DONATION TO PROVIDE NEW, CLEAN FLOORING FOR RONAN'S HOME-COMING!
- We are so thankful to report that Omegaven has truly saved our little boy's liver. Within weeks of switching from the regular lipids/fat to Omegaven, the yellow and green color of Ronan's skin and eyes turned normal and after eight months in the hospital he was allowed to go home with his parents for the first time since birth. His bilirubin level has now dropped to normal. We are hopeful that in time his intestines will grow and function so that eventually he will be able to survive without Omegaven and TPN. To find out more about Ronan's condition and our quest to continue to save the life of our precious little boy, please read his story below as posted shortly after he was born.
An extreme case of short bowel syndrome Ronan came into the world on December 27, 2013 with only 15-20 cm of overall bowel. In addition to saving his digestive tract, his family is in a desperate race to save and protect his liver which is currently deteriorating at an alarming rate. Despite two major surgeries within weeks after birth and the daunting outlook of long-term hospital treatment, this courageous little boy has the heart of a warrior and the spirit of a survivor.
Medical experts in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Tucson Medical Center are anxiously awaiting the purchase of a rare type of lipids based of omega and fish oils made in Germany. These lipids have proven to be life-saving to the liver, but is extraordinary expensive and these costs are not covered by medical insurance. We need to raise a minumum of $108,000. Enough of the product is needed to sustain his liver and he could need it up to 4 years, or even life-long. In Ronan’s case, a healthy liver will provide the essential time needed for the digestive tract to naturally grow and provide an opportunity for his intestines to start functioning on their own.
Early during pregnancy it was discovered that Ronan had gastroschisis, a condition in which the bowel escapes through a hole in the abdominal wall. At 12 weeks the doctors suspected that Ronan’s intestines had gone back into the abdominal cavity, however, they could not know for certain until he was delivered. His parents Dino and Melissa Gericke were excited, hopeful and could not wait to see their little boy.
Ronan came unexpectedly at 37 weeks. His parents were able to hold him for a few seconds before he was rushed off for a four-hour long surgery during which the pediatric surgeons made a devastating discovery. The intestines did not go back through the hole in the abdominal wall as suspected. Instead, the hole in which the bowel was escaping tried to heal itself during pregnancy and cut off the blood supply to the bowel that was outside of his body. Thus causing it to die and dissolve in the amniotic fluid - leaving him with an overall bowel length of only 15-20 cm. The average length of small intestine in a newborn is approximately 90cm and large intestine is 2 feet. His future was dire and uncertain.
Although the NICU at TMC will be his home for a very long time, this spirited little boy with his strong will to live has been fighting the odds against him. He is missing the duodenum (the part of the small intestine mostly responsible for absorbing nutrients, as well as the iliocecal valve that connects the small- and large intestine and helps regulate the flow of food from the small intestine to the large intestine. During his first surgery directly after birth, the small intestine was too short to be connected to the short piece of colon and therefore surgically closed off. Without being fully connected and having a small intestine less than one-tenth of that of a normal baby, he was and still is, solely dependent on Total Parenteral Nutrition. (TPN) and lipids (the fats your body needs to survive). These both must be administered intravenously directly into the blood stream. Despite the life-saving attribute of TPN, it has dangerous side-effects such as line infections and permanent liver damage.
During the next few weeks, Ronan was given very small amounts of breast milk in addition to the TPN to help with his liver function and to also help stretch the small intestine, but because the small and large intestines were not connected, his bodily secretions had to be drained through a tube connected to his stomach. On January 28 at only 1 month old, this tiny baby underwent a second surgery. The small intestine had stretched enough to enable the surgeons to perform a “step procedure” in which the intestine was stapled in steps to allow more area for nutrient absorption. The small intestine was now also long enough to be connected to the large intestine and ample time is currently needed to allow the dormant intestines to heal and to start functioning on their own.
Although his liver is at risk due to the lipids (fats) in the TPN, this is the only nutrition currently available to be administered until the much-needed lipids from Germany can be ordered. Ronan's bilirubin level is alarmingly high and his liver is at risk.
We appeal to your generosity to help save Ronan. No matter how big or small, your kindness will have a great impact and will make a huge difference in this precious child's life. With thanks and appreciation!
****In addition to the website, donations could be made nationwide at any Wells Fargo Bank to the Support Short Bowel Syndrome Fund(account name Elsie Gericke), or mailed to Ronan Gericke, c/o 1600 N. Paseo Dorado, Tucson, AZ 85715. For questions, please feel free to contact the Gericke family at [email protected]
***TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF OUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND STRANGERS: THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS FOR YOUR PRAYERS, GENEROSITY AND KIND WORDS. ALL THE ADJECTIVES IN THE WORLD ARE NOT ENOUGH TO DESCRIBE OUR APPRECIATION AND LOVE FOR ALL OF YOU.
DINO AND MELISSA GERICKE****