Hard start, happy ending
By Gabriel Wingate-Pearse
MIRACLE baby Phelicity Sneesby, whose bid for survival warmed the hearts of everyone in our community, is now five years old and ready to start Kindergarten.
Phelicity has endured 11 operations and two trips to the United States for advanced medical treatment but is now living a happy, normal life.
Her parents, Ben and Veronica Sneesby, of Goonellabah, were told that baby Phelicity would not live long. She was diagnosed in the womb with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, or half a heart, and they were advised to terminate the pregnancy.
The couple refused. Instead, they did some research and found Dr Mark Galantowicz at Columbus Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who said he could save Phelicity with a type of combined internal and open-heart surgery which he had pioneered.
With the help of family and friends, they raised enough money to make the trip and for Phelicity to have the life-saving surgery in 2003.
They returned in January for another operation and now Phelicity is looking forward to starting kindy.
"She has got beautiful long red hair and is doing great,'" Mr Sneesby said.
"And I am going in kindergarten," Phelicity said, insisting on getting in on the conversation.
"I turned five and I was hanging to be five," she said.
Mr Sneesby said he hoped that the American surgeons would come out to Australia to teach their surgical methods.