When Leah and Pinchas T. of Jerusalem learned they were expecting their first baby, they were thrilled. However, when an ultrasound revealed that their unborn child had CLP (cleft lip and palate) they knew there was going to be a difficult journey ahead of them.
The difficulties began, sure enough, right after Elazar ben Leah Mala’s birth. The baby, unable to eat or swallow correctly, would choke when his parents tried to feed him. A device was inserted into his mouth to help with this but after 5 weeks of inefficiency and an infection, doctors determined it needed to be removed.
The best the young couple could do was feed Elazar with a specialized bottle, filled with baby formula that is infused with extra nutrients. Elazar can only ingest a small amount during feedings that take at least one hour each. Not only does he not get the proper nutrition that a child his age should be receiving, he also suffers from constant ear infections and serious reflux issues that require medication.
At just three months old, Elazar’s health is at great risk due to his inability to eat properly and get the appropriate nutrition for a developing baby-something that affects him now but can also impact his future. His mother describes how heartbreaking it is to watch her baby try to (unsuccessfully) take a bottle, how difficult it is to hear him cry out of hunger, frustration and pain.
Elazar’s condition is severe to the degree that the family was advised to travel to England for two surgeries, to get the best care and best results possible for his needs. Surgery costs alone amount to $20,000. Coupled with airfare, food and lodging abroad, the expenses are completely overwhelming. These are in addition to Elazar’s additional medical needs including his specialty bottles, formula, and other expenses. With Leah and Pinchas’s incomes as a secretary and avrech, there is no way they can pay for everything they need.
But as Leah says, they have no choice. “None of what we need to do for our child is for cosmetic reasons. We simply must help him function normally-to eat, breathe, smile and one day, talk.”
Elazar’s parents have taken out hefty loans to cover some of their costs as it was the only way to take care of his needs. One surgery was performed at the beginning of January. There is an improvement, however Elazar still cannot eat properly and is underweight. The second surgery is scheduled for right after Pesach, and they will go through this whole process again. In the meantime, Elazar is still suffering tremendously, and the family suffers with their terrible debt, debilitating them now, and affecting them for years to come.
Please help us enable Elazar to live as normal a life as possible and help relieve some of the stress on this family. If we can reach our goal of $10,000 we will be able to make a meaningful impact on their situation.