Community rallies to support Taylor

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Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome sufferer Taylor Doyle, left, with mum Zalie.

Ashburton teenager Taylor Doyle is preparing for surgery in Australia.

She has a rare condition called Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS) which causes abdominal pain and nausea that worsens when she eats or drinks anything.

Doctors in New Zealand have been unable to help her pain or nausea, and her tolerance to eating and drinking had not improved.

MALS occurs when the median arcuate ligament sits too low on the aorta and compresses the celiac artery that supplies blood to the stomach, her parents Zalie and Karl said.

‘‘This compression also damages nerves in the same area causing extreme pain that has been likened to end stage pancreatic cancer.’’

The only possible cure for MALS is surgery.

However medical experience with MALS in NZ is almost non-existent but Dr David Yeo is an experienced and knowledgeable specialist who is available to help in Sydney, Australia.

‘‘Dr Yeo’s recommendation is for Taylor to undergo a celiac plexus block that will numb the nerves he believes to be affected and if Taylor is then able to eat without pain it will indicate if she’s a candidate for surgery or not,’’ the couple said.

‘‘If she’s eligible for surgery he will release the ligament as well as remove any affected nerves.

‘‘It’s a serious operation that comes with risks but has about an 80% success rate for relieving a person of the pain and nausea experienced as a result of this compression.’’

The couple have set up a Givealittle page, and individuals and businesses around town have come on board with events and products, to help get Taylor to Australia and the care she needs.

The Doyles have a goal of $35,000.

‘‘As you can imagine this has meant she’s lost a lot of weight, has been malnourished and dehydrated, has spent more than 100 nights in hospital, has undergone an absolute battery of tests and procedures, spent more than six months being tube fed and missed
the majority of her first year at college!’’

Taylor’s referral for the plexus block has been set for March 16, and surgery is pencilled in for March 22; she needs to be in Sydney seven days ahead of the procedure.

‘‘After nine months of watching our daughter suffer so much the possibility of a cure for her is the hope we’ve been looking for.’’

Anyone able to donate can do so via Help Taylor Eat Again, Givealittle page.

‘‘We’re so humbled by the love we’ve already received throughout this journey and feel very uncomfortable having to ask for financial help but we can not let money be the only barrier standing in the way of a pain free and bright future for Taylor.’’