James and Elizabeth Dunne with baby Harrison
James and Elizabeth Dunne welcomed their long awaited baby into the world on September 16, 2020 but when he was born baby Harrison was not breathing or moving and was later diagnosed with Myotubular Myopathy (XLMTM), a rare genetic disorder for which there is no cure.
XLMTM does not allow brave little Harrison to use his muscles very well, which makes breathing extremely difficult for him and he cannot be taken off his ventilator for long periods. Medical specialists have said that Harrison's life span may only be approximately two years before something causes his lungs to fail altogether. Harrison's brain functions completely normal but his muscles are just too weak to support him.
The couple travelled to Ireland from New Zealand last year to seek medical assistance with their fertility journey.
“As we were not able to find any specialists in New Zealand who could assist us we widened our search and found a doctor here in Ireland who specialised in helping women who suffer from recurrent miscarriage, so we took the chance. Harrison is the result of four long years of trying to make a family and after four miscarriages and a molar pregnancy. Harrison’s pregnancy was normal which made his unexpected genetic disorder yet another heartbreak to take,” said Elizabeth.
James is originally from Graigue, Thurles and is a past pupil of Colaiste Mhuire in the town. His parents Jimmy and Catherine still live here and his brother Shane who is married to Siobhan lives in Moyne.
James recently completed his Ba (hons) in Culinary Arts at Waterford’s Institute of Technology and now works as a lecturer and chef.
Elizabeth worked for the Institute of Eye Surgery at UPMC in Waterford.
James has had a well-travelled career having worked in the US, Australia and New Zealand is where he now calls home as he settled with his wife Elizabeth in her home town of Palmerston North, which is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. James and Elizabeth hope to raise their son Harrison here and they are asking for your help to fly their little miracle baby back to their family home in New Zealand.
“Even in a world without Covid-19, travelling will be complicated because Harrison needs around the clock extensive care. Essentially, his journey will mean flying his hospital room with its many moving parts to the other side of the world” say the parents.
Since the very moment Harrison was born he has not been able to leave the hospital. His parents so desperately wish to bring him back home to New Zealand and have been advised by doctors that a specialised medical flight is the only way this can happen.
The main reason to return to New Zealand is the climate. It is coming into summer over there and the warm weather will help Harrison as exposure to a common cold could end his life. Only 1 in 50,000 babies are born with this genetic condition which is carried by females but only affects males.
However the cost of the specialist flight will be astronomical. The couple have set up a gofundme page in order to raise the much needed funds to fly Harrison home safely. Their target is €250,000.
For more information please visit: www.gofundme.com/bring-baby-harrison-home
Follow the Dunne family on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bringbabyharrisonhome/