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Grantham mum's plea for help

A mum whose baby has a rare illness is staging a charity night to help buy much-
needed hospital equipment as well as raise awareness of her child’s condition.

Ella Gregorich has DiGeorge Syndrome, which is the second most common syndrome after Down’s Syndromne, but few people, including hospital staff, seem to have heard of it.

Mum Andrea Gregorich says when she took her 20 week pregnancy scan she was told something was wrong with her baby’s heart.

In January, four months before Ella was born, Andrea was told her daughter had a large hole in her heart, which would need operating on when she was five months old.

Further checks then revealed she had DiGeorge Syndrome, known to some as Chromosome 22 deletion.

Andrea explained: “No-one knows what it means until the child develops. There can be learning difficulties, speech impediments, mobility issues, autism, the list is endless.”

Andrea had weekly checks at Grantham and Lincoln hospitals and on May 8, it was noticed there was much fluid around the baby. A consultant said Andrea should stay in hospital, but heading back to pick up things in Grantham, she went in to labour and returned to Lincoln.

After an emergency C-section, Ella was born at 4.20pm in Lincoln, but later rushed to its special care unit.

Andrea was told Ella would have to be transferred to Leicester as otherwise, she would die. Hours later, Andrea joined Ella in the hospital, where was hooked up to machines keeping her

Ella was born at 26 weeks and six days and weighed 7lb 11oz and stayed five days in Lincoln, before being transferred to Leicester. Ella was diagnosed with ailments including a cleft palate and a low or no immune system.

Now, aged 11 weeks, Ella has to go to Leicester every six to eight weeks for a check-up and will have heart surgery when she is a year old. She will also have the cleft operation done and repairs to an absent pulmonary valve.

Andrea said: “Currently Ella isn’t on any medication. She is doing fantastic.”

However, on July 1, Ella stopped breathing at home, needing mouth-to-mouth, which mum Andrea gave, just as ambulances and response cars arrived moments later.

The 36-year-old mum of four says her three boys have now been trained in first aid, with her youngest Fenton, also saving Ella’s life as he was with her when she choked.

The mum-of-four, who is 36, says she is raising her children all by herself.

“Ella’s father and I split up when I was four months and has since decided along with his family they want nothing to do with Ella, so with the help from my friends and my two sisters, I’m going it alone.”

Now, Andrea plans a fund-raising event on October 6 in the Recruiting Sergeant in Great Gonerby. The aim is to raise awareness of DiGeorge Syndrome as well as buy special mats called Angel Care baby movement monitors, one of which, Ella sleeps on. They would be given to Grantham hospital.

Tickets are £15 including buffet and music from Kelly Yates. There’s a £60 meat raffle and a huge beer hamper among the prizes.

Andrea said: “I am desperate for local businesses to get behind me, pubs and shops and others to donate what they can.”

If anyone can help, email andrea.gregorich@yahoo.com

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