Help a PE mother to finally realise her dream of seeing her son walking

FEBRUARY 1, 2016

A Port Elizabeth mother, Celeste Jansen, on Monday appealed for help in raising enough funds for her son, little Liam Jansen, to undergo what is expected to be two final surgeries to enable him to walk.

The brave little man has already undergone several operations from 2014, however his mother no longer has enough funds for a crucial operation scheduled for the end of this month.

Little Liam, 21 months-old, was born with amniotic banding on both his legs and club feet. He has so far been to specialist after specialist both private and state, to try and get him to walk.

Amniotic Band Syndrome occurs when the foetus becomes entangled in fibrous string-like amniotic bands in the womb, restricting blood flow and affecting the baby’s development. Amniotic Band Syndrome can cause a number of different birth defects depending on which body part(s) is affected.

Liam Jansen Fund Raiser - Club Feet Angel (Liam Jansen)

If a band wraps tightly around a limb, the limb can actually be completely amputated. The baby may be born missing fingers, toes, part of an arm or leg. If the band is across the baby’s face it can cause cleft lip and palate. In a large number of cases the baby is also born with clubfeet. ABS is also the cause of numerous miscarriages, such as when a band becomes wrapped around the umbilical cord.

“Little Liam has had ponsetti treatment from 1 week old to 10 months old with no improvement,” Celeste told RNews.

“Ponsetti treatment is a ‘new’ treatment brought to South Africa, basically what the doctors do is they manipulate the feet/ankles and bend them in the correct position, then they place casts on from the nappy down just past the toe. Each week they take the old cast off and manipulate the feet a little more out and recast the feet/legs.

“This treatment is supposed to take between 6 to 7 weeks then they operate, the doctors cut the tendon in the back of the heel and re cast... After a few weeks (I honestly don't know how many as we never got that far) they take the casts off and the little baby will start wearing special boots called boots and bar or bnb for short,” she explains.

This treatment will start right after birth or at 1 week old - the sooner the child starts the treatment, the better the outcome will be.

“The doctors told us, at the state hospital, that they cannot help us any further with the ponsetti treatment, as the amniotic banding causes a restriction of blood flow to Little Liam's feet - causing terrible pain and makes his feet swell more than they normally are. In addition, his feet are also too severe for the treatment,” recounts Celeste.

“They also don't have the doctors/specialists to help with any.”

After going to the specialists, she was told that Liam's feet are too severe and the only thing that will help is to have more operations.

Subsequently, Liam had two operations on his amniotic banding in August and September 2014.

“However, he is still needing one more on his amniotic banding to release the restriction and allow the blood to flow freely to his feet,” she says.

“We organized a fund raising event that was held at Cape Recife High School [in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth] where we had a ‘family fun day’, we had stalls and even William Hunt Delta doing test drives of new vehicles at our event. 

“It was a lovely day and it did bring in some money to put towards Little Liam's operations, not a lot but every cent counts!” she says.

On the 19th September 2015, Liam had the first operation on his feet at St Georges Hospital, in Port Elizabeth.

“The doctors cut all tendons in Little Liam's toes, bridge of feet and heels. They also placed pins in each foot and applied a cast on each leg/foot,” describes Celeste.

“On the 2nd of October, two weeks after the first operation, Liam had his second operation on his feet – again at St Georges Hospital.

“The doctors cut the old cast off, they had to unfortunately remove one of the pins from Little Liam's foot due to infection. They used the remaining pins to pull Little Liam's feet outwards and up to straighten his feet, and applied a new cast.”

On the 30th of October, four weeks after the second operation, Liam had his third operation, at the same hospital.

“The doctors removed the casts, removed all the remaining pins and placed a new cast on both his feet.

“On the 9th of December, Liam went to his doctor to have his casts removed. The doctor was very happy with the outcome so far, as there is a huge improvement,” Celeste describes.

“However Liam’s feet are still pointing inward very badly. He has a follow up visit in February 2016, with both clubfeet specialists, who operated on him. They will assess his feet and make the final decision on his next operation.

“Liam's last operation on his club feet will be to concentrate on pulling his feet outward in the ‘straight’ position.”

She says that the doctors have said they will need to cut the top, front of both feet. 

“The doctors will lengthen the tendon in the bridge of his feet (again) and transplant the tendon to the middle, top of his feet, this will allow the feet to pull themselves outward as he grows. The doctors will recast his feet (not sure for how long) but only half leg meaning from the knee down to the toes,” Celeste explains.

“Once Liam's feet are straight, we will be going to see his plastic surgeon for our last operation to correct the remaining of the amniotic banding and to remove the last stitch that has not been able to work its self out of Liam's leg as yet. The stitch that is still ‘stuck’ causes infection as bad as even cellulitis infection.

“At this point, we have run out of all resources.  We have contacted every medical cover possible to try and get Liam covered but have been told that this is a pre-existing condition and they will not cover,” she adds.

“Little Liam is needing all the help he can get if he is ever to walk and lead a normal life. All Liam wants is to be able to walk, and run with his older brothers. Something so simple that so many of us take for granted, the ability to WALK!”

Let's stand together and help this little angel so that one day he will be able to walk and lead a normal life. Donations can be made to;

Little Liam's hospital savings account:

Liam Blake Jansen

Absa bank

Savings account

Acc no: 9308991471

Branch code: 632005

Paypal I'd: [email protected]

The smallest donation can make a Huge difference to this little boy!!!

NPO registration number: 2005\018447\08

Facebook page: Liam Jansen Fund Raiser https://m.facebook.com/liamjansenfundraiser/

Youcaring fund raising: http://www.youcaring.com/liam-jansen-413691#.VdBwovFW8d8.mailto

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Blog: clubfeetangel.blogspot.com