Courteney Leahy Geasley suffers from velo-cardio-facial syndrome, in which part of the 22nd chromosome is missing.
There are many medical conditions associated with the condition, including cardiovascular defects, feeding difficulties, gastrointestinal problems, immune system problems, growth issues, and kidney differences, to name but a few. Courteney has to be fed through a tube in her stomach.
Courteney, who lives in Cobh, spent the first three months of her life in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, followed by five months in Cork University Hospital in Cork. Even after discharge she had frequent hospital stays due to pneumonia because she would aspirate her saliva. These stays decreased as she got older and started to swallow her saliva.
Courteney also has low immunity, low muscle tone and hormonal fluctuations, and is constantly being monitored by her doctors in Cork and Dublin.
She has had various operations, including one to prevent reflux, an operation to insert a feeding tube, one to repair a sub-mucous cleft palate and another to make a pharyngeal flap.
She needed a monitor at home as she would stop breathing every few minutes, though this eventually stopped.
She had to have a feeding tube inserted and is still being fed this way.
Her mother Sonya is hopeful that she can learn to eat at The Children’s Hospital in Graz, Austria.
“Other than a word or two she is unable to talk due to palatal palsy but we also hope that down the line this too will be rectified, especially if her muscles get stronger when she learns to eat. The fundraising is brilliant. I can’t believe it. Courteney is well at the moment.
“It is a weight off my shoulders to have funds raised,” she said.
* If you would like to donate to Courteney’s cause, go to Bank of Ireland account number: 69085137; sort code 90-26-37.