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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 22:19 GMT
Girl eats again after seven years
Tilly Merrell
Tilly is due back in the UK soon
A young girl has eaten solid food for the first time in her life after treatment in the US.

Tilly Merrell, seven, from Warndon, Worcs, has been fed nutritious liquid via a stomach tube almost since birth.

She was thought to have a condition, Bulbar Palsy, which prevents her swallowing solid food.

Wellwishers raised 10,000 to send her to California. But after tests, US doctors believe she only had swollen tonsils and say she now eats normally.

Tilly and her family are due to fly back to the UK at the weekend.

Valve removed

The youngster was treated at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Stanford, California.

Her occupational therapist Marianna Thorn told BBC News Tilly had not had food through her tube for the past 10 days and was now eating properly.

She said: "Tilly should be perfectly normal. She has a very long history of being fed through a tube, so we gave her the option of feeding her slowly here at the hospital so we could monitor her weight.

"Our tests showed she only appeared to have swollen tonsils," Ms Thorn added, "though she may have had a condition in the past.

"She is now fine, although she will need to have the valve into her tummy removed."

Family's hopes for rare condition
14 Dec 04 |  Hereford/Worcs

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