Baby Nadya's mom desperate for help for daughter as donations dry up

By Kirstin Buick
08 February 2017

Little Nadya was born with hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain”.

It was her mother, Melissa Roos’s, 23rd birthday on Monday.

They didn’t do much; there wasn’t any cake or balloons. Melissa and her mother, Christa, spent the night at the guesthouse close to Tygerberg hospital.

But they still felt blessed to have Nadya in their lives.

“And this is my bday so far. 1st bday as a mommy. Love you my bollatjie. Love you too mom.


Melissa asked her Facebook friends for prayers and help.

“Not going too well at the moment,” says her mother, Christa. They only have one night stay left the guest house and then they don’t know where they’re going to stay.

Nadya needs to be back at hospital on 27 February for tests and on 7 March they might operate on her.

The two charity organisations who paid for their travelling costs and accommodation in Cape Town let them know that the money in Nadya’s account is almost finished.


They’re preparing themselves to stay here for months, says Melissa. It would work out more expensive to travel back and forth.

Nadya’s father, Ralph Stirk, lives just outside of Cape Town, has offered them a place to stay but due to tensions between him, Melissa and Christa, they declined him. “It will cause a war,” says Melissa. They are not together anymore. Melissa split from Ralph almost three months ago.

Her and her mother left Pretoria via train two weeks ago for nine-month-old Nadya’s treatment. She was born with hydrocephalus. The air pressure in an airplane would have been too much for her.

Read more: ‘Apart from her head she’s perfect’

As the name suggests the condition is an abnormal build-up of fluid in the brain. The so-called “water on the brain” is actually cerebrospinal fluid – a clear fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The abnormal fluid build-up raises intracranial pressure inside the skull which causes progressive enlargement of the head. The condition can damage on the surrounding brain tissue.

“Besides for he head, she is absolutely perfect and beautiful,” says Melissa. In one of the pictures taken on Melissa’s birthday little Nadya laughs heartily for the camera.

A while later she posted on her Facebook page: “Ya…so we struggle forward.”

She sounds hopeless and tired on the phone as Nadya sleeps. “She suffered a few epileptic fits this past weekend. All day on Friday and half of the day on Saturday. There’s nothing that we can do but give her some Epilim syrup (a medicine which prevents convulsions),” says Melissa.

Nadya's condition is informally known as 'water on the brain'. PHOTO: Facebook Nadya shortly after birth. PHOTO: Facebook

Nadya was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when her mother was 23 weeks pregnant. One gynaecologist after another, in Waverley where they lived, advised Melissa to get an abortion. Scans showed that besides for hydrocephalus Nadya would be born with other health conditions as well.

“Nadya is the love of my life,” says Melissa.

She will keep fighting to get her the best treatment possible and have a second stent inserted to help drain fluids out of her brain. Her head measures an astounding 60 cm in circumference.

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