NORWAY — A young girl with a life-threatening medical condition may be home in early January after spending the past several months in a Philadelphia hospital.

Faith Waterman, a first-grade student at Rowe Elementary School, has an extremely rare disorder called congenital high airway obstruction syndrome, which means her airway from the nose to bronchi is almost completely blocked and prevents her from breathing. She has undergone more than 40 operations in her brief life and must wear a trachea tube to breathe.

“We’re tired,” admitted Melyca Waterman, Faith’s mom who has been at her side since they drove to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in early October, leaving behind her husband, Scott, and her 5-year-old daughter Hope, Faith’s best friend.

Melyca, who stays at the Ronald McDonald House in Camden, N.J., to be near her daughter, said in a recent telephone interview that Faith must go into the operating room each week to check on her progress. There came a low point when doctors felt they would not be able to do anything else, until they found a tiny pinhole of an opening in Faith’s throat. Melyca called it “a little bit of a miracle.”

“It’s a very slow process and a long way to go before she’s trach-free,” Melyca said of attempts to keep the throat open. “Each time it stays open a little, we’re hopeful we’ve turned a corner.”

While Faith and her mom keep going to the hospital, Scott continues to work on their home in Norway to make it habitable for the family. The family has been staying in Oxford with Scott’s parents while volunteers help the family repair their home.

New plumbing for the kitchen and bathroom, duct work and registers to fix the heating problems, wiring for the downstairs, insulation around the foundation, and insulation and drywall for the kitchen and bedroom walls are some of the things that must be fixed. The house also needs a new kitchen sink, cabinets, new insulated front door, flooring for the kitchen and bathroom, and more.

Scott, an out-of work carpenter, has been helped by fellow parishioners and family and friends to rebuild the house, and Melyca reports good progress is being made.

The family is hopping they will spend some of the holidays together in Philadelphia. Faith and Melyca may be able to return home after New Year’s, Melyca said.

“We’re excited to be back together,” she said of the family’s upcoming visit.

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