Cape Town - For the past three years, 3-year-old Aaron Lipschitz has been admitted to hospital at least 60 times.
Aaron was diagnosed with a rare incurable disease that affects his immune system, Interleukin-12 Receptor Defect.
He is the first South African to be diagnosed with the disease, and of the few known cases worldwide, Aaron is the only child who is unable to eat.
His mother, Taryn Lipschitz, said Aaron lives off Neocate formula and recently doctors said the formula was no longer providing Aaron with enough nutrition to accommodate his growth. He was fitted with central lines and catheters to begin “total parenteral nutrition”.
“A port runs through Aaron’s heart and every evening he is fed intravenously, avoiding his digestive system.”
Taryn said they had received a lot of support from family and friends and that had made it easier for them.
“Last year we were in hospital for three months, from September to December. Aaron’s first admission was when he was two weeks old and this is now our sort of normal.
“The hospital has been like a second home to him and we thank God he doesn’t mind going and has relationships with the doctor and nurses.”
Taryn said Aaron understands that he cannot eat because food will make him sick, and he doesn’t show much interest in food as he hasn’t experienced eating.
She said despite his condition, Aaron is a very happy child and the only hope for him to get better is a bone marrow transplant.
“I work with children and he is the happiest and most sociable child I have ever met.
“He makes the most of life when he is not ill. He loves animals and his bike, and his favourite thing is a dog. He is a normal boy.
“In the beginning no one knew a lot and we tried managing on our own, but it got to the point where we needed help.
“The principal at his play school encouraged us to make the story more public and the response has been very overwhelming. It is difficult to just say ‘thank you’ when they are helping save your child’s life; it sounds silly. But we are so overwhelmed by all the assistance.”
Aaron’s parents have set up a campaign on donations-based crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy, and appeal to the public to support their little boy while he fights his condition.
The campaign went live in January and R1 245350.57 has been raised.
“We are urging people to go on to the Sunflower website to register as a bone marrow/stem cell donor. The process is as simple as making a phone call, filling out a form and having two vials of blood taken. You could save Aaron or another person waiting for their miracle.”