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Elly mistakenly swallowed a caustic cleaner which caused disastrous effects to her little body.

Elly, 4 years, caustic ingestion

Since 2012, Elly has had 67 operations to repair her oesophagus and stomach, but her treatment is ongoing.

After ingesting a small amount of hospital-grade cleaner and being rushed to hospital, Elly was transported from Beaudesert to Brisbane, where doctors discovered her entire oesophagus and stomach was burnt. Thankfully, her vocal chords were intact and her stomach repaired itself within weeks, however her oesophagus would require years of ongoing care.

Doctors spent a year trying to stretch out Elly’s oesophagus, and she was fed a diet of pureed food for the first 2.5 years of her life.

“A major achievement was Elly eating her first Easter egg at 3 years of age.”

Unfortunately, Elly has lost motility of her oesophagus while she sleeps, and chokes during the night. Elly’s parents have a sleep roster, with one staying up until 2am to help Elly through her coughing fits, until the other can take over.

The race is on to find a way to fix the coughing fits before long-term damage occurs. At just 14 kilograms, Elly’s parents are also concerned about her ability to life a normal life, as she begins the transition to schooling life.

“We need more funding – not only to save lives, but also research new techniques and procedures so on-going issues do not occur for other children.”