WEB EXCLUSIVE: Family sells everything to pay daughter's medical bills
LAKE WYLIE, SC (WBTV) - Six years ago, life was financially great for Dwayne and Kelly Daves.
They had just purchase a million dollar home on Lake Wylie, boats, cars - everything. But shortly after Dwayne's cattle shipping business closed and he was out of work. Two weeks later, the couple found out little Abygayle was on the way.
Abygayle was a surprise for them. Kelly went to the doctor thinking she had appendicitis.
"They told me my appendix was fine, but the baby was right where it should be," said Kelly.
Then shortly after Abygayle was born they found out another big life change.
"She was born with the Esophageal Atresia - Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula, I don't say that much anymore it's EA/TEF for short," said Kelly.
The short version of EA/TEF – is Abygayle was born without an attached esophagus.
According to www.atef.org, this rare congenital birth defect affects about 1 in 2,500 to 3,500 babies.
With EA/TEF, the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach, is shortened and closed off (dead ended) at some point along its length. The baby is unable to swallow, and may also have trouble breathing.
Also in Abygayle's case, there's no flap to her stomach.
That mean whatever goes down can come right back up - like a tea pot - if she jumps up and down or lays down on her back after eating.
Doctors have had to rebuild her Esophagus five times and she's had aspiration pneumonia more than 12 times.
Most everything Abygayle eats is ground up in a blender.
"Squash, zucchini, even a spinach salad," said Kelly.
At 18 months of age, Kelly found a specialist for her chronic illness in Cleveland, Ohio and things were getting a little better for Abygayle.
But the medical bills kept piling up.
"We've taken out equity lines we've done everything we can do," said Dwayne. "It's time to have a clean slate."
Because of the market crash - they sold the lake house at half price, and now everything inside from their wedding china, furniture, even Dwayne's Great-Grandmothers rocking chair is going on the auction block.
"Everything is significant and has memories," said Dwayne.
However they both agree nothing in the house is as important as their kids lives.
"I would like to think it's a blessing to [the buyers] that they buy it and it reminds them of that life is meant to be lived," said Kelly.
The family raises cattle in the Clover area and is renting a home.
They've cut all excess expenses because every year they have to travel to Cleveland to get Abygayle's esophagus stretched just so she can somewhat eat normally.
The Daves auction is Saturday morning starting at 10 a.m. sharp at 450 Squirrel Lane in Lake Wylie.
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