Three operations in three months for baby Lilli
SINCE her birth 10 months ago, Lilli Crouch has already endured a tougher road than most.
Born seven weeks premature and weighing 1.7kg, Lilli was diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome - a condition affecting her heart and structure of airway.
After Lilli's birth, scans revealed she was born with a ventricular septal defect, sometimes referred to as a hole in the heart.
Today, Lilli remains in Sydney's Children's Hospital and requires further surgery in the coming months.
Her parents, Ryan and Tamara, have been told by doctors that Lilli can be discharged before the operation. They're now hoping to raise the funds for medical equipment needed to bring their daughter home.
"I'm living here (in Coffs Harbour) with our oldest daughter Harmony who's nearly three years old, and Tamara is in Sydney with Lilli," Ryan said.
"I work on fishing boats but I can't do it at the moment.
"I'm trying to keep things as normal as possible for Harmony but it's tough being apart.
"Harmony misses Lilli. I show her pictures of her little sister and she asks when she's coming home."
The family has been in and out of hospital as Lilli battles the rare syndrome.
She is making a slow recovery from the recent tracheostomy to overcome her airway obstruction.
"It's not too often that she feels good, but when she does feel good it means the world," Ryan said.
"She's a fighter and she doesn't give up."
To help bring Lilli home, visit the family's Go Fund Me account at www.gofundme.com/g6ys6zzs.