Mum's plea to community after toddler's diagnosis
IT'S been a rough start to life for Felix Black, who has spent the last two years in and out of hospital.
When the situation was already dire, further tragedy struck the Black family at Christmas.
Now, for his upcoming second birthday on April 5, Felix and his family are asking the community for the most valuable gift of all - plasma.
Felix has been diagnosed with FPIES, a severe allergy affecting the gastrointestinal system, leaving him unable to consume a wide range of foods. He had also been suffering respiratory issues caused by severe reflux and has had to have surgery.
The reflux has forced him to be connected to a feeding tube attached to his stomach to receive his nutrition since he was five months old.
At Christmas, blood test results revealed Felix was suffering another serious illness, one that's left him reliant on weekly blood transfusions.
"In the midst of everything he already had going on, last Christmas Felix was diagnosed with an immune deficiency called common variable immune deficiency," mother Maddy Black said.
"Basically, his body is not making enough anti-bodies to fight infection and his vaccinations weren't working. His body could not make a response to the vaccines."
After suffering constant infections, Felix began treatment in late-January this year where he is given immunoglobulins every week, anti-bodies which are taken from the plasma of people who donate at the Red Cross.
"He'll have to receive the transfusions for the rest of his life. We do them at home because he's quite afraid of hospitals after everything he's been through," Mrs Black said.
"Since he's started he hasn't been in hospital once, and he's had no infections. He's eating better, he's growing, and we're even going to be able to start him in day care soon.
"With his birthday coming up, what we thought he really needs, and what a lot of people need, is for everyone to donate plasma, the most valuable gift you could give."
The Black family and friends have since set up an event on Facebook to put the call out for plasma donations ahead of Felix's birthday.
Instead of presents, the family are asking people to donate plasma sometime around his birthday on April 5, then post an image of themselves making the donation onto the Facebook page to put into a photo album for him.
See the event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/585227885151844/ and to find out more about plasma donation, go to donateblood.com.au.