Andrea is a five-month-old girl from Guatemala, who was born 13 weeks early because her mother had preeclampsia. She had to be on a ventilator the first two and a half months of her life. She has struggled to grow since then, and doctors have been puzzled with her case. First it was believed that she had sepsis, then lactose intolerance, but now her diagnosis is clearer. She has a rare genetic condition called Isovaleric Acidemia. This means that she cannot metabolize certain amino acids, meaning they accumulate in her body, reaching toxic levels.
The public health care system in Guatemala in unequipped to handle her case, since her condition is so rare. If she does not receive treatment, she will likely pass away.
Andrea is the youngest of two children. Her older brother, Diego, loves her a lot and often plays with her, showing her toys. Andrea’s mother says that Andrea is a fighter–in her few months of life, she has spent half of it in intensive care, and has received 7 blood transfusions. Although her parents work hard to give her the best they can, her mother is unable to work because of Andrea, and her father cannot make enough money to purchase the extremely expensive formula that Andrea needs to consume to survive.
This treatment, which costs $1016, will save Andrea’s life. Right now, she is far too small for her age, and is struggling to gain weight. Not only will her physical strength improve with special formula, but her immune system will grow stronger, giving her body what it needs to fight off potentially-deadly sicknesses in her weakened state. Andrea’s improvement will give her family hope that she can one day go to school, and be able to live with and manage her condition.
“I hope that God allows the miracle of her recovery from this condition that she has,” Andrea’s mother shares. “I want her to be like a normal child her age, to be able to eat, go to parties with her friends, and not have restrictions.”