Baby Max Williams’ cheeky smile hides a hard start in life

Max Williams of Great Yarmouth, aged 15 weeks, has biliary atresia and is likely to need a liver tra

Max Williams of Great Yarmouth, aged 15 weeks, has biliary atresia and is likely to need a liver transplant as he gets older. - Credit: Archant

You cannot tell by looking at his happy face, but little Max Williams has had a hard start in life.

He was six weeks old when he was diagnosed with biliary atresia – a condition where bile cannot be removed from the body and, if left untreated, will poison the liver and lead to organ failure.

He underwent major surgery at King's College Hospital, in London, a fortnight later and now, at 16 weeks old, needs medication, close monitoring and regular routine check-ups.

His mum and dad, Donna Cooke and Mark Williams, said Max might need a transplant when he was older but, right now, they are taking it 'one day at a time'.

Last Sunday, Miss Cooke and Max were in Gorleston where Bradwell Brownies held a summer fair and raised money for the youngster. Brownie leader Donna Nunley, who used to work with Miss Cooke, had followed the youngster's story via Facebook and wanted to help.

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So she and the girls from the 2nd Bradwell Brownies organised the fair at the Seagulls Sure Start Children's Centre and, with support from local businesses, raised £454.

The money has been split – it will help the 16-strong Brownie pack pay for activities and, hopefully, a trip to Disneyland Paris but also help the family, who live in Great Yarmouth, cover the costs of travel to and from London.

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'I'm really grateful.' said Miss Cooke. 'Max is doing well at the moment; he is at home. He's such a smiley, happy baby which almost makes it worse because sometimes you can't tell that he's ill.'

Talking about Max's condition, she said: 'It was picked up when he was six weeks old because he had jaundice and it wasn't going away.

'He went to King's in London for a liver biopsy and exploratory operation and then he had a major operation when he was just seven weeks and five days old. It happened very quickly; just two weeks after the blood test for jaundice he was having a major operation.We were away from home, family and friends so was a very lonely and worrying time. It's still hard to take everything in and we are just taking one day at a time. It's hard enough with a new baby, so it has been difficult but you have to be positive.'

Max is also supported by his siblings, Ashleigh, 13; Jack, 11; Emma, 10; and Thomas, eight.

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