Family fundraising for girl with life-threatening liver disease

Alisha Tatton and mum Zoe Blythe are hoping to raise awareness of biliary atresia Alisha Tatton and mum Zoe Blythe are hoping to raise awareness of biliary atresia

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
11:30 AM

Alisha Tatton hailed as an ‘inspiration’ by her mother as she battles through condition which affects only one in 15,000.

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"She always battles through and has a smile on her face; she is inspirational."

Zoe Blythe, Alisha’s mum

THE family of a young girl with a rare, life-threatening liver disease are fundraising to raise awareness as she ‘battles through with a smile on her face’.

Five-year-old Alisha Tatton, from Bideford, was diagnosed with biliary atresia, which affects only one in 15,000 people, when she was just a few weeks old.

At only primary school age she effectively has the liver of an alcoholic, and faces regular operations as well as the prospect of a liver transplant in the future.

After being rushed to hospital at only six weeks old, mum Zoe Blythe said Alisha was then taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where she was diagnosed.

Alisha Tatton (second right) with grandfather grandad Vince White, younger sister Tiarie and mum Zoe Blythe.Alisha Tatton (second right) with grandfather grandad Vince White, younger sister Tiarie and mum Zoe Blythe.

“It was horrible; the worst moment of my life when they sat down to tell us,” said Zoe.

“She was fine at birth but a few weeks later she went bright yellow and was losing a lot of weight.

“She was tested for two weeks before she was diagnosed, and then had a life-saving operation which removed her gall bladder and half of her liver.

“At the time we found out she had biliary atresia she was only days away from death.”

As a consequence Alisha, who goes to East-the-Water Primary School, also suffers from portal hypertension and has to go for regular blood tests and endoscopies.

“We have to travel to Birmingham Children’s Hospital as it is a specialist hospital but she has never once complained or cried,” said Zoe.

“She always battles through and has a smile on her face, she is inspirational.”

Alisha’s illness has had a huge impact on the family’s life and Zoe added: “It’s very hard but you deal with it because you have to.”

Although Alisha is treated through Birmingham Children’s Hospital, she is often rushed to the Caroline Thorpe Ward at North Devon District Hospital when ill.

In a bid to thank the ward and staff for all they have done, Zoe and her friend Annika Symons have organised ‘Rock For Alisha’ – a charity gig at the Palladium.

Spaced Invaders, Morning Glory, Far From The Delta and Oscar Young will all be playing on Thursday, July 10 to raise money for the ward.

“It is our way of saying thank you and to help raise awareness of Alisha’s condition because it is so unheard of,” said Zoe.

“When Alisha was first taken to hospital they didn’t know she had biliary atresia because they had never heard of it.

“I don’t want that to happen to another parent and for it to be too late.”

Vince White, Alisha’s grandfather and a member of the Circle of Hands riding group, is also organising a ride out on behalf of the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.

“We want to get as many riders as possible to meet at Bideford Quay at 6.30pm so we can go for a ride and all arrive at the Palladium at the same time,” he said.

The family are hoping to raise as much money as possible and are urging people to buy tickets for £3 at the door, which opens at 8pm.

For more information visit the ROCK for ALISHA! Group on Facebook.

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