Lilly’s been to hell and back, but strangers saved her life

BATTLER: Lilly Crosswell in 2010.
BATTLER: Lilly Crosswell in 2010. Nicholas Falconer

FIVE years ago, Lilly Crosswell was struggling to eat, sleep and breathe freely while dangling on the end of a Queensland Health waiting list for surgery.

The then two-year-old had severely enlarged tonsils and a condition known as strabismus, or crossed eyes.

After her plight was publicised in the Sunshine Coast Daily, two generous strangers offered to pay for Lilly to have surgery through the private system and skip the waiting list.

Lilly, of Mount Coolum, underwent the tonsil operation privately and later underwent two rounds of surgery for her eyes.

The surgery did not completely correct the strabismus but her mother, Kylee, opted not to send her for a third round of surgery.

"They're not too bad - not enough to warrant another operation after what she's been through," Kylee said.

Because Lilly's enlarged tonsils had made it difficult to eat properly, she had been bottle-fed more than most kids and that is suspected of causing problems with tooth decay.

After her tonsils were removed, Lilly went under general anaesthetic to have some teeth removed.

"She's been through hell," Kylee said.

NOW: Lilly Croswell with her mum Kylee five years after kind donors helped her get the surgery she needed.
NOW: Lilly Croswell with her mum Kylee five years after kind donors helped her get the surgery she needed. Warren Lynam

While Lilly's health problems were being addressed, she was slow to learn to talk. Kylee took her to a paediatrician which led to Lilly being diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome at about four or five.

Kylee is not phased.

"I've got four of them and three of them have been diagnosed with Aspergers," she said.

"It's a handful but I suppose I find it easy because I'm used to dealing with it," she said.

Lilly goes to Bli Bli State School with her brother and, although her speech was slow to develop, she is a bubbly little girl not afraid to have a chat and ask questions.

Kylee kept in touch with both generous benefactors after Lilly's surgery. Although the busyness of life made it difficult to stay in contact with one, she still catches up with the other on Facebook.

"They are amazing people. I can never repay them enough for what they did for us," she said.



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