Delight for family as little Lexie allowed home

Ralph Riegel

AN Irish family is celebrating moving their daughter home from hospital where she spent her first eight months battling one of the world's rarest conditions.

Lexie O'Riordan was born with Microvillus Inclusion Disease (MID) - the same life-threatening genetic condition as her late sister, Holly.

Tragically, Holly died when just 13 months old in 2005 before she could undergo a potentially life-saving procedure.

MID is so rare that, at any one time, just 50 people worldwide are believed to suffer from it.

It leaves sufferers critically unable to absorb the nutrients they require to maintain a healthy body because of faulty cells in their small intestine. This, in turn, puts enormous pressure on the liver.

To date, the only known long-term treatment is a double organ transplant -- and the O'Riordan family is now hoping that Lexie can build up her strength sufficiently to undergo the procedure in either the UK or US.

Last weekend, Lexie's mum Sylvia got the perfect Mother's Day present with the news that Lexie can move home permanently - though she will still need regular visits to Cork University Hospital and Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin.


Lexie was initially cared for at Our Lady's - but was transferred to Cork a few weeks ago.

It is now hoped that Lexie can be permanently based at the family home - though she will have special nursing support if required.

Lexie's older brother, Charlie (4), who does not have the same syndrome, is delighted at getting his little sister home.

Lexie's uncle, Eddie, said her brave fight for health and her return home has given the entire family a double boost - and proved an inspiration to everyone.

"We couldn't believe it when we were informed that Lexie had MID - it was a terrible shock," he said.

"But Lexie has been doing very well. At this stage, Holly's liver was under severe pressure - but Lexie is responding well to treatment. If she can continue like this, build up her strength and be ready for a transplant if she needs it, her chances will be much, much better," he said.

Sylvia and Eddie are now preparing for the possible transplant procedure in the future - and family, friends and supporters have launched an appeal fund to help them.

Donations can be made to Baby Lexie Fund, TSB Curraheen Road, Cork, Sort Code 990709 A/C No. 19498947.

A special Facebook page has also been set up for Lexie, which contains regular updates on her condition and special events.