Eight-year-old Eva has been fighting to survive her entire life.
She was born with only half a diaphragm after suffering a diaphragmatic hernia during fetal development. With a hole in her diaphragm, nothing was holding Eva’s vital organs in place and they pushed up into her chest cavity, preventing her lungs from developing normally.
Eva spent her first three months in a coma on life support, and at just six weeks of age, she underwent her first operation to rebuild her diaphragm and reposition her organs. Eva was in and out of hospital for the first year of her life, then spent the next four years living at Starship ward 26b. Eva now lives at home with family – and her new baby brother, Cooper, who she adores. Eva has even started going to hospital school once a week, which she absolutely loves.
After multiple surgeries, numerous bouts of pneumonia and several strokes, she has defied the odds to be alive today. Eva’s stomach and bowel do not function at all, so she is fed nutrients through her blood stream via her liver. Her body is constantly developing complications that drastically put her life at risk and require immediate intervention.
Eva lives with gastrointestinal failure and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Last year, brave little Eva spent more than 10 months battling the bug.
New Zealand has the highest rates of Staphylococcus aureus (SA) in the developed world.
Cure Kids is supporting research being conducted by Dr Siouxsie Wiles, who is screening unique NZ/Pacific fungi to identify their potential to kill the superbug SA.
Dr Wiles and her team have tested 140 fungal species, with 29 being identified as capable of killing SA. Those species with anti-SA activity will be more closely investigated, with the aim of honing in on the particular features that are enabling these fungi to fight off SA.
Certain strains of SA, such as MRSA, are currently lethal to many who come in contact.
An antibiotic that was effective against MRSA would be a blessing to Eva and her family. ”When you have a child born with a serious medical condition you always expect this to be what is putting their life at risk. With Eva, this was the reality until the day doctors came in to the say she had MRSA. It meant she had to fight against this in her blood stream and on her body – it’s an ongoing battle that we never get on top of. The Cure Kids funded research underway into MRSA bugs could potentially save my child’s life, it’s the gift of hope”. – Tiff Mitchell, Eva’s mother.
Cure Kids is determined to support research to find better treatments and cures for many Kiwi kids, like Eva.