LIFE LINE: Tyanah and Tim Williamson follow a strict feeding regime that keeps baby Willow alive.
LIFE LINE: Tyanah and Tim Williamson follow a strict feeding regime that keeps baby Willow alive. Tessa Mapstone

Willow fights for life

WILLOW Williams looks like a normal, happy baby, but in the nine-and-a-half months since she was born, she has spent just 40 days out of hospital.

For more than a week now, the baby has been home in Murgon, but the cost of treating her unusual condition is crippling her family.

It took doctors months to link her illness to food proteins, preservatives in medications and even baby wipes, and in the meantime she came close to death.

Eventually Willow was put on a special combination of medications and formula, which she is fed through a tube directly into her stomach three times a day.

The regime, along with regular and emergency trips to hospital in Brisbane, is costing the family up to $700 each month.

"We're left in the situation that how do we feed the kids this week? How do we pay the rent this week? How do we pay for Willow's meds?" mother Tyanah Williams said.

"Her whole body depends on those meds, so what do you do?

"This is what I have to do to keep my daughter alive.

"If I could happily give her a normal tin of formula I would, but my doctor has told me I won't have a baby within two days."

Willow's father Tim has had to stop working and his parents have moved into the family's home to help pay the bills.

"He can't go back to work because of our other two children," Ms Williams said.

"If (Willow) gets sick, I have to go straight back to Brissie with her, and then we uproot our other kids."

Ms Williams has struggled to find financial help for Willow's treatment because her condition is an unusual one.

"The immunologist point of view is my daughter doesn't have anything to do with them because nothing came out on the skin prick test," she said.

"And it's so hard because you go anywhere for help, because we're not anaphylaxis, they don't want a bar of you.

"If we were raising money say for cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, they have all these groups for that where they get funding.

"There's nothing for a kid like Willow. She doesn't fit into a box - there is no diagnosis.

"We're at the point where we don't know what to do."

While the family struggles with the financial and emotional cost of caring for a sick baby, Ms Williams said the hardest part was knowing Willow had lived with so much pain.

South Burnett

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