Eli Thompson, the boy who made the news when he was born in 2015 without a nose due to a rare condition (read here) has died at the age of 2 in Alabama.
Eli was born prematurely with congenital arhinia — a condition so rare it reportedly affects only one in nearly 200 million births.
The condition can cause trouble with breathing and eating. His soft palate also did not develop fully. At only 5 days old, he received a tracheotomy. All through his short life, he required constant care. Caring for a baby with the same condition Eli suffered from is known to take a lot of work.
A story about Eli’s birth written by Today.com, read: “Mom and dad need to suction the tracheotomy at least two times a day and clean around it. They also have to change the ties that hold the tracheotomy in place because the spit-up and milk that catches on them can irritate the skin and lead to infection. When he sleeps, he wears a heart monitor, which sounds an alarm when Eli’s heart rate increases from crying.”
In spite of all the challenges involved in raising him, he was precious to his parents and recently, on May 31, Eli’s mum, Brandi McGlathery posted a photo of herself with Eli to Facebook and left a caption that told of how special he was.
“It’s been a LONG road, but we have come a LONG way, my baby. I made mistakes, I had short comings, & I still have days where I get so overwhelmed with you, your brother & sister that I wanna curl up and cry, but I have found myself in you. You made me grow up, & you taught me what unconditional love is. You will forever be the little boy that busted my heart wide open. Thank you for rescuing me, & blessing me with what I never knew I needed.”
Sadly, Eli died on Saturday night and his grieving father, Jeremy Finch, took to Facebook on Sunday to share the sad news along with the link to an article about the boy’s death.
He wrote: “We lost our little buddy last night. I’ll never be able to make sense of why this happened, and this will hurt deeply for a long time.”
He continued, “But I’m so blessed to have had this beautiful boy in my life! He finished his race a lot earlier than we would have liked, but it was God’s time to bring him back home. I’ll forever look forward to seeing him at the gates of Heaven waiting on me to give me another one of his famous fist bumps! I love you little man. Rest in peace with my Father.”
Eli was “very, very bright and happy, always smiling and giving everybody fist bumps,” Finch told the website, adding that he communicated by using baby sign language, and that he’d started speech therapy at home with a speaking valve. “His favorite sign was ‘cookie,’” he said. “He touched a lot of people’s lives. A lot of people cared about him.”