Help Bella learn to eat
Fundraising appeal for 3-year-old’s life changing treatment
A Chelmsford family are asking their local community for help raise money to send their young daughter to America for a treatment that would transform her life.
Three-year-old Bella Cole suffers from an undiagnosed genetic condition which affects her size, growth and development. It also causes chronic vomiting which has resulted in her being tube fed since she was just six weeks old.
To help her eat for the first time in her life, Bella needs surgery to get another tube placed into her stomach, which her parents Philippa and Matthew Cole have privately funded due to long NHS waiting lists.
However, they now need help to raise the funds to take her to the Marcus Autism Centre based in Atlanta, which specialises in weaning dependent children off their tubes.
Bella’s mum Philippa Rabbitts says, “Bella hasn’t eaten or drunk anything in almost four years. Instead, she gets her nourishment through a tube into her intestines over 16 hours every night.
“Feeding therapists believe the daily vomiting has caused her to have aversions to food, and the longer she is tube fed, the harder it will be to wean her off. The waiting list for the procedure to be done on the NHS was 12 months or more, so we decided to get it done privately as we couldn’t take another year of watching her vomit every day.
“The next step in her recovery is to take her to an Autism centre in Atlanta, which specialises in weaning children off their tubes and getting them eating on their own. The cost of the trip is around £35,000 but the difference it will make to Bella’s quality of life will be priceless.”
Although lockdown has made it harder to fundraise, Bella’s family and friends have come up with a number of initiative ways to try and raise the money to cover the costs of the trip, including:
Left Image, Bella’s cousin completed a sponsored scoot around his local village and raised £500.
Right image, Bella’s friends supporting her via purchasing “together we can do this merchandise.
Local neighbours also helped with a table top outside there house sale which raised close to £1000.
“Although she vomits many times a day, Bella is still such a positive little girl. She always has a big smile and carries on as normal. She’s small, but mighty and we know with the right treatment she will overcome this,” continues Phillipa.
“We’ve already raised more than £5,000 which is amazing, but there’s still a long way to go. We know that times are tough for most people right now, but anything people can spare will be gratefully received – every little helps. On behalf of Bella, thank you.”
You can find out more about Bella’s journey on her Facebook page.