SINCE little Hannah Gould was born last summer, she hasn’t eaten a single thing.
The 11-month-old from South Queensferry suffers from a feeding condition, which means she has to receive milk through a tube in her stomach.
Now, concerned parents Lesley, 35, and Justin, 40, are trying to raise £6500 to pay for specialist treatment which they hope will finally enable their daughter to feed without the need for any tubes.
Around £5000 will be used to obtain help for Hannah from Dr Markus Wilken, a developmental psychologist who specialises in treating babies and children with feeding disorders.
Dr Wilken is based in Germany but visits families all over the world, and will spend a week treating Hannah at the family home. The remaining £1500 will pay for Dr Wilken’s flights and accommodation during his stay.
Mrs Gould, who works as a teacher at primary schools across the city, said: “Since Hannah was born in July last year, she has never really taken to eating or drinking. There are several theories as to why Hannah is not feeding, but as yet there is no confirmed medical diagnosis. Hannah is suspected to have a cow’s milk protein allergy that has led to severe reflux, which in turn makes it very uncomfortable for her to feed.
“She had a nasal gastric tube placed when she was two months old to give her much-needed nutrition. After five months of having the tube, a more permanent gastrostomy tube was placed in her tummy.
“Hannah currently receives all of her nutrition via this tube both during the day and by a feeding pump at night.”
Although this method of feeding currently provides Hannah with the nutrition she needs, it is in no way an ideal feeding method, as it does not allow her to develop the skills she needs for eating.
The couple have already raised more than £5000, the majority of which was donated at a sponsored trike-a-thon in Dalkeith on Sunday, which saw children doing laps of King’s Park on trikes, bikes and scooters.
It is hoped that Dr Wilken will be able to wean Hannah off the tube within the week and teach her how to feed by using various techniques, such as play picnics.
“He will be working with us for 12 hours a day, and if we need him after that, he is still available by phone,” Mrs Gould said.
Tiny Hannah only weighs around 14 pounds, with a lack of nutrition holding her development back.
Dr Wilken will arrive next Monday, and the family have two weeks from now to raise the remainder of the funds. A disco will take place at Hibs Supporters Club on June 15 to help with the cause.
Ann Marie Miller from Radio Forth’s Cash for Kids, which has donated to the appeal, said: “Radio Forth’s Cash for Kids is delighted to be raising funds for the Help Hannah Feed appeal.”
To donate, visit www.forthone.com/charity/help-hannah-feed