1. ITV Report

Four-year-old flies 12,000 miles to Birmingham for chance of life-saving transplant

Madison Merrick with her mum Alana, who are both from Auckland in New Zealand Photo: BPM Media

A four-year-old girl from New Zealand has travelled 12,000 miles to Birmingham to wait for a life-saving bowel transplant.

Madison Merrick, who was born with her bowel outside her body, could face years away from her family as she undergoes treatment.

Madison faces years away from her family in New Zealand while she waits for a transplant Credit: BPM Media

Madison and her 22-year-old mother Alana, flew to Birmingham from their home in Auckland in May 2013 because the surgery the youngster needs is not available in her own country.

She is being treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, which has an international reputation for transplant work.

Birmingham Children's Hospital is internationally renowned for its transplant work Credit: PA

However Madison could have to wait a year or more for an organ to become available, then for at least a further six months after the procedure to ensure her body does not reject it.

Despite being thousands of miles away from home, Alana says they will both stay in Birmingham for as long as it takes to find a bowel donor, so her daughter can have the chance of a normal life.

Madison has travelled 12,000 miles for the life-saving treatment as it isn't available in New Zealand Credit: BPM Media

Her mother Alana said:

“A new bowel would mean she could grow up to live normally – otherwise, we’re looking at a lifetime in and out of hospitals.

“It is difficult living away from home for so long and not knowing when we will be returning to New Zealand.

“I love the city and the people here have made us both so welcome.

“I couldn’t have asked to come to a better place while Madison waits for her treatment.”

Madison's mother: 'She is such a happy little girl. She loves dancing, dressing up and playing with her dolls and toys.' Credit: BPM Media

Her mother went on to say:

“Madison is such a happy little girl. She loves dancing, dressing up and playing with her dolls and toys. But this operation is essential for her to grow up and live a normal life.

“I have the support of a couple of relatives over here and I have met some wonderful people who have become great friends. But I will stay here for as long as is required.

“Birmingham Children’s Hospital is widely regarded as one of the best in the world and I am delighted she is in the best of hands here. Nobody knows how long it will be before the right match comes up.

“It is a waiting game. A transplant would be something worth waiting all the time in the world for.”

The Facebook campaign to raise money for Madison Merrick Credit: Facebook

Alana is raising cash to help pay for living expenses as she is not eligible to work in Britain.

Her friend Joanne Franks, who made contact after following a Facebook appeal for Madison, is leading the campaign.

Joanne said:

“Madison is a lovely girl and it has been so difficult for them both to come to a new country on their own.

“I wanted to do all I could to help them settle in and raise money for Alana and Madison’s living expenses.”