OLD FIELDS, W.Va. (WHSV) -- A two-and-a-half year old girl has survived 26 surgeries in her short life.
Leai Vanmeter was born with biliary atresia, a condition in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not have normal openings.
It only affects about one out of every 18,000 infants, and this family knows firsthand how scary and challenging it can be
"It's hard seeing... Leai going through it," explained Leai's mom, Heather.
She and her husband, Lee, live near Old Fields and have been working hard to keep Leai healthy through dozens of visits to the doctor and a pediatric liver transplant.
"It's just been surgery after surgery and temporary fixes,” shared Lee.
During the past two years, there were a few times they thought they might lose this little girl.
"You have the nurses and the doctors who reassure you that everything's going to be okay, but you just don't know," Heather continued.
All that traveling has put a strain on their finances as they try to raise three children and Lee tries to keep up with work.
"You're not really focused on your job; you're focused on how your baby is doing," added Lee.
Fortunately, they say Leai is improving, but there's still a long road ahead.
"Knowing that she has gone through so much and she's made it through so much, it's relieving that she is a fighter," added Lee.
"For something so horrific as Leai has, there's always light at the end of the tunnel," concluded Heather.
They say they're thankful for the support they've already gotten from the community. There are sites set up help this family cover some of those expenses. Leai has a bank account at Grant County Bank in her name. You can also donate to the GoFundMe site they have set up.
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