Please Save Ronan

For: Ronan Gericke
Organizer: Melissa Gericke
of $50,000 goal.
Raised by 339 donors
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The Story

  • 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


Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 5, 2015 by Melissa Gericke
Ronan is up from a 1hr 1/2 nap from a hectic night list night. He pulled his line  during the early morning where the Broviac line was kinked under the dressing at 4am today. Took awhile for us to get through the chain of people to find when the nurse was able to come out. Poor sweetheart was so tired, but he did well for his wonderful nurse since he was unable to sleep till it was fixed. He is scoodling all over the living room pointing out things and giggling playing peek-a-boo

Posted on February 4, 2015 by Melissa Gericke
Ronan is doing much better now. He had a random clot in his broviac line somehow and had to be taken in to the ER. His line flushed perfectly fine at 7pm when we hooked him up, but at 9pm the Omegaven was back flowing into his TPN line and the line was reading occluded. We are still not sure why or how it clotted in just 2 hours but Ronan ended up needing to have his broviac line replaced. The surgery went well, and now instead of being in his left thigh. His new line is in the right side of his chest. Its proving to be a challange with the placement its in but we are making it work and figuring what new modifications he needs. Thank you everyone

Posted on January 12, 2015 by Melissa Gericke
We just got back from an appointment with Dr. Stafford, Ronan's surgeon who  has been with us since Ronan was born. He is absolutely amazed at Ronan's progress and how good he looks because of the Omegaven. He was showing Ronan off to his staff because he was just so astounded at how well the Omegaven has helped his liver levels and changed him back to a healthy looking baby boy. He even sent us the picture of what little intestine was left outside his tummy before they surgically removed it, assessed his new condition and closed the hole. I uploaded the picture here too, cannot believe he lost so much of intestine, but so blessed there is Omegaven to help him have the time he needs to begin absorbing and function normal. 

Posted on January 8, 2015 by Melissa Gericke
Ronan is super sick :( he is coughing, got Tons of eye boogies, sneezing, tired and just miserable. Had a fever of 100.7 earlier, it has gone down to 99.5 as of right now but he is still feeling horrible :(.... Want to make him feel better already, heartbreaking seeing him so sick. He just had some more medicine and cleaned his face again.. He is definitely not feeling well.... Hoping sick season leaves soon :(

Posted on January 7, 2015 by Melissa Gericke
Ronan had a wonderful Halloween dressed as a little lion to visit family. Him and his daddy would run around Roaring hehe was so very cute. November was eventful with him being more mischievous haha He has fancy fingers too. When he is about to touch something he is not allowed to, I say "no no Ronan" and shake my finger at him. He will look at me, look at the thing and his little fingers start moving like he wants to touch it so bad, but he is a good boy and will leave it alone after :) Thanksgiving was wonderful, he got to play with his 6yr. old Aunt and 5yr. old Cousin. Along with ride a full sized horse :) and he Hated the taste of his Turkey Dinner 1/2 jar of baby food he is now allowed to enjoy once a day. He would shudder and look at me like I was feeding him the grossest thing on the planet haha December was so fun with him, we decorated a beautiful tree and hung our stockings up. Put up lights and snuggled in front of the warm fireplace at home together

Posted on January 7, 2015 by Melissa Gericke
Ronan is doing very well, he is standing and trying to walk now. He says Dada, Mama, Doggie and beginning to say Thank You :) he is on the move and very active. His liver count is back to Zero and looks so Well! Today he played a bunch and was having a blast watching his 6 year old Aunt run over bubble wrap haha he was giggling so hard over it. He is an absolute delight to  be around

Posted on October 24, 2014 by Melissa Gericke
Ronan and I are listening to "Praise You In This Storm" on our Christian Station on Pandora, while he plays in his bouncer and I am folding his laundry. Had to take a moment to soak this in, that he is home and something so ordinary we are able to do with each other now. I want to Thank everyone again for everything you have all done along this rocky road full of its highs and lows. From the very first moment we found out about God blessing us with him, to his conditon, to even the lowest part of hospice or liver failure that we had been faced with.. But then all those sweet moments of holding him right after he was born, his first poop at a month old haha his first smile, those few times we breast fed, His first haircut and first moment wearing a onsie  No matter what, it has been a wonderful journey. For Dr. Reddix being his Guardian Angel looking for a cure, and discovering the life saving Omegaven. To his nurses and other doctors who cared for him while in the NICU and Pediatrics. To his primary nurses who took on his long term case and put such detailed care in our son like JD, Victoria, and Ray. To the wonderful nurse Codiewho put a loving touch of a handmade blanket with his name on for him TMC is forever in our hearts for taking such outstanding care of Ronan. They all went over and beyond what is to be expected. Thank you to all of you for helping to support us through it all and for those who help fund his Omegaven and save our son. Your support, love and prayers mean more to us then words can ever describe. Thank you everyone, all of our Family and Friends, you are all cherished and not taken for Granted. You are all in our prayers as well, and we count everyone of you as a blessing in our lives. God is wonderful, and no matter how hard something is, how bleak it gets. God always only wants the best for us and doesn't like to see us suffer and hurt. So fortunate to have Him in our lives and heart, cannot count how many times I've had to cling to his love and faith. So much has happened, not just to us but to those other NICU moms I met along the way who had hardships to face and came through the better. Kristiand your Amazing Loving family, KarenJenniferand many others who I am blessed to have met. You are so strong and were a lifeline while we were there together. So happy seeing your darlings rise above and doing so well now too. Also the strangers that have become a part of our lives day to day that have helped by supporting us at the Chick-Fil-A Fundraiser and the man at the Frys Gas Station that randomly bought us gas while we kept driving back and forth from the hospital and house and is always asking how he is doing and praying for Ronan. So many blessings, so many caring people and so Overwhelmed by you all. Thank You, every one of you and more for what you have done and are doing. You are all cherished and mean more than I can form into words.  Thank You!

Posted on October 19, 2014 by Melissa Gericke
Ronan came home on antibiotics and has just finished them. He is all better and being a happy boy again. Its Amazing having him home and taking him out for the Halloween experience. He may not be able to get candy, but we were able to find him a costume to visit family in. Little man is going as a brave Lion ;) Also big news, he now has 3 teeth Coming in at Once!! He has his two bottom front teeth coming in straight and his top left tooth as well. He has his baby toothpaste and is learning to brush his teeth now all on his own. ;) he is growing up fast and none of his Broviac lines are going to hold him back. He is a very determined, brave and outgoing boy. We are so proud of him, and blessed. Thank you everyone for helping to give him the chance to grow and be an active little boy. We can not thank you enough

Posted on October 6, 2014 by Melissa Gericke
Ronan has a urinary infection as well as the virus so he is being treated for both. He is still in the Pediatric ICU but will be switched to normal pediatrics around noon. So far a line infection is still negitive and he is just resting. He has trouble sleeping and tons of boogers, otherwise doing good Though. 

Posted on October 5, 2014 by Melissa Gericke
So Ronan is back in TMC, this time in Pediatric ICU. Yesterday he was acting normal, went down for his 12pm nap and slept till I woke him up at 3:30pm, just had a bad feeling. He would have slept longer but it's not his normal to sleep more than 2hrs and something didn't feel right. When I went in he propped himself up like normal but once I turned on the lights he was pale gray and Very sickly looking. Rushed him into the ER, he had a fever and had nurses drawing labs and doing a lot to him. They drew cultures because the sudden septic shock points to infection. As of now he does have a Viral Infection of Rhino which is contagious so he is on lock down where nurses have to wear masks, gloves, and coats around him. They say it is just starting and that it can last up to a week, week in a half. He is A Lot better, is normal color, and doing well just coughing, eye and nose boogies and a little fussy. He is sleeping now and maybe switched to regular pediatrics today. As soon as we get another update I'll let everyone know! 

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