Foundation helps Ella's loving family remain by her side
LITTLE Ella Vanderneut's fight to survive began the moment she emerged from her mum's womb.
The Toowoomba youngster was born in August, 2012 at 36 weeks gestation.
Within hours she was in the neonatal unit at the Royal Women's Hospital in Brisbane.
When she was barely 24-hours-old, doctors were forced to operate on an abnormality in her esophageus (foodpipe) and trachea (windpipe) that was stopping her from breathing.
She spent the next three months on a respirator.
But the machine that was breathing life into her body eventually led to a collapsed windpipe.
When she was five-months-old, surgeons inserted a small tube into her windpipe to help her breathe and used laser surgery to fix a laryngeal cleft.
And when she was two she had another operation to open up her airways.
Carly Vanderneut, Ella's mum, said her little girl still had a hard road ahead.
"At this stage Ella will require the tracheostomy until her airways have developed enough that they can be supported unaided," the 27-year-old said.
"Ella requires 24-hour care with her breathing and feeding assists - she is feeding through a gastrostomy button as she is still in the process of learning to swallow."
The Children's Hospital Foundation Queensland provides volunteer and respite support for the family when Ella is in hospital.
Recently Mrs Vanderneut and her 27-year-old husband Brent took their daughter to hospital for another operation.
"Ella requires ongoing surgery," Mrs Vanderneut said.
"She has a weekly speech pathologist appointment at the Toowoomba Base Hospital and every few months we see the dietitian for a review. "
Despite all of her struggles, Mrs Vanderneut said Ella was looking forward to starting kindergarten next year.
- APN NEWSDESK