Kee-Ijah making great strides
A year ago, Elisha Joell could only hope and pray for the survival of her tiny girl Kee-Ijah Bailey, who was born ten weeks premature on Christmas Day.
Tomorrow, happy and playful “miracle baby” Kee-Ijah will mark the end of a remarkable year by celebrating her first birthday with her loving family and friends. Ms Joell told The Royal Gazette: “I’m excited that she is here and that she has overcome so much.
“I honestly didn’t know I would be celebrating her birthday. Everything with her was hopes and dreams.
“When I turn back and look at her, I’m like ‘wow, God is awesome’.”
Baby Kee-Ijah weighed just 3lb 8oz when she was born on Christmas Day 2017 at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
She had problems breathing and was placed on life support before she was sent overseas to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.
She spent about four weeks in the hospital before returning to the island where she has continued her recovery.
Kee-Ijah still faces health challenges and the family owes nearly $200,000 for her treatment, but Ms Joell remains upbeat.
She said: “I am going through some of the pictures and I’m still very emotional about it.
“To see her this strong you wouldn’t even think what she has gone through. You wouldn’t even be able to look at her and realise that she has any challenges.”
She suffered bleeding to the left side of her brain in March, which affected her motor skills and means she needs a little more attention than normal, but doctors believe she will eventually overcome that problem.
Kee-Ijah now weighs 19lbs, which is normal for her age, and is otherwise developing healthily.
Ms Joell said: “She is very independent. She really pushes to do it herself.
“She is very, very happy, a very playful baby.
“She eats normal, drinks normal, regular like everybody else. Everything is normal with her besides her motor skills to the left of her body.”
Her older siblings have ensured she gets all the love she needs at home.
Ms Joell explained: “Everything is KeeKee. They are very helpful with her.
“They don’t even allow her to cry. If she cries, it’s like they are having a fit.”
She said the family still owes the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association about $198,000 for Kee-Ijah’s treatment overseas, and they owe a further $26,000 for paediatric visits.
She said: “The community helped us with so much, but we still are not completely paid off.”
The LCCA could not comment on any specific case, but a spokeswoman said the cost for healthcare for premature babies can be very high since the child would be in intensive care for an extended period of time.
She said that LCCA finances medical treatment as a loan and patients are expected to pay. She said: “Because medical bills are so high, we rely on patients to repay so others can benefit.”
Ms Joell thanked people who helped raise more than $18,000 through a GoFundMe account in the early stages of treatment, as well as two major fundraising events during the year.