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Christmas miracle: baby Mariah makes it home for first Christmas and first birthday

23 December 2017

After spending more than 10 months being cared for at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, baby Mariah has made it home just in time to celebrate her first Christmas—and her first birthday—surrounded by her loved ones.

After spending more than 10 months being cared for at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, baby Mariah has made it home just in time to celebrate her first Christmas—and her first birthday—surrounded by her loved ones.

Mariah was born on 27 December 2016 and, after becoming very unwell in her first month due to complex gastrointestinal issues, has needed on-going expert medical care to help her feed. 

She spent one month in the high dependency unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, followed by more than nine months in specialist children’s ward, Mercury, where Mariah has been looked after around the clock by a team of specialist gastroenterology doctors and nurses.  

Parents Vasile and Maria-Ileana Severa, who live in Harrow, were relieved, emotional and overjoyed at the news they could take their precious little girl home just in time for Christmas.

Mum Maria-Ileana said: “It was our wish for her to be okay and to be home for her first Christmas and first birthday.”

“It means a lot after the year we’ve had—it’s a gift and I think she deserves this,” Ms Severa said.

Mariah will celebrate her first birthday on 27 December with a pink and gold themed princess party, where she’ll wear a tutu and a tiara. She’ll be surrounded by up to 20 family and friends, including her godparents, who are all set to come together to mark this incredibly special occasion.

Staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s Mercury ward, including Staff Nurse Molly Rundell, have been caring for Mariah for much of 2017 and explained just how precious the 11-month-old is to the whole team.

“Mariah is an amazing little girl and a true fighter. After the year the family has had, we’re so pleased they can spend this time at home together rather than in hospital—we adore them and they’re a true inspiration to us,” Ms Rundell said.  

“Mariah has the most incredible spirit and determination, and to know we’ve been able to get her home for not only Christmas, but also her princess party, means so much to us.

“Despite having many ups and downs this year, she’s always smiling and is such a delight to care for. Mariah makes a perfect princess.”

The festive season is a particularly difficult time for families whose loved ones are in hospital and the team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has pulled out all stops to get as many patients as possible well enough to go home for Christmas. 

Mariah was able to go home on Friday evening, 22 December. Mariah’s parents have been trained by specialist hospital staff to be able to administer all of Mariah’s nutrition via a tube in her chest.