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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 12:07 GMT
Family's hopes for rare condition
Tilly Merrell
Tilly's mother hopes test in America will allow her to eat again
The family of a seven-year-old girl who suffers from a rare condition which stops her eating are hoping specialists in America will be able to cure her.

Tilly Merrell, from Warndon in Worcs, has what is known as Bulbar's palsy - a condition which means she cannot swallow solid food.

Instead, she is fed nutritious liquid through a tube into her stomach.

Her mother Amelia said a hospital in the US was the only hope, but she needs to raise 10,000.

Internet search

Tilly has isolated Bulbar palsy which means the flap at the back of her throat does not work properly.

Instead of directing food and drink to her stomach, it sends it to her lungs.

She is given liquid food through a tube three times a day.

Tilly developed the condition after contracting a virus when she was one.

After years of searching on the internet to find somewhere that could treat her, the family came across a hospital in America which could carry out tests to see if it could help her eat again.

Mrs Merrell said: "It is very difficult to keep her away from food and drink - it's a constant nightmare. She wants to eat and that's the problem.

"She can't have sweets or chocolate and it's particularly hard at Christmas. We would love her to sit with us and eat a Christmas dinner.

"Hopefully in America, they will do the tests and one day she will be able to eat with us too."


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