WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A baby girl from Haiti is getting a new chance at survival in south Florida. Her rare birth defect will soon be treated by doctors in Palm Beach County.
The pediatric surgeons received this heartbreaking case because of the dedication of a Lake Worth-based non-profit organization.
'Baby Lillie' was found last year in a remote village in Haiti suffering from infection and malnutrition. The 21-month old was born with a rare condition. Her rectum never fully formed. She does not have the ability to rid her body of solid waste - except through a surgically inserted tube in her abdomen.
"They expected her to die. And she's alive," said Sylvie Florestal-Sainvil, who found Lillie nearing death while on a mission to Haiti with Peace Of Mind Outreach .
Sylvie made a promise to Lillie's parents - and to Lillie - to give this baby girl a fighting chance.
"When the baby was born, I was in shock," said Ceverot Charles, Lillie's father. "I didn't know what to think because I never saw anything like that before in my life," he said.
Sylvie began raising funds in Florida and searching for an American hospital that would provide life-saving surgery for Lillie. "I was scared," said Lilliane St. Elien, Lillie's mother. "I didn't know what I was going to do. I gave up all hope."
There is renewed hope at Palm Beach Children's Hospital at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Pediatric Trauma Surgeon Dr. Melvyn Karp and his team will soon take on the challenge.
"That's what hurts the most," said Dr. Karp. "I just wish I knew her a year and a half ago." The five hour surgery is set for next week. Karp says the prognosis is promising.
"I have a good child, a good baby. She is my friend," said Lillie's mother at the hospital. "She's been through a lot and I thought I was going to lose her."
These medical procedures are expensive and so far most if not all of Lillie's bills have been paid for by donations.
If you would like to help Peace Of Mind Outreach, find more information by clicking here .
Lillie's surgery is set for next Thursday.
"Looking at her, I can't stop smiling. I thank God," said Sylvie. "And I say God Bless America."