MOBILE, Ala. — A “miracle baby” who captured national attention when he was born without a nose and whose family shared with the world their story of perseverance and love has died at age 2.
Eli Thompson was born with congenital arhinia, a facial anomaly in which a baby has no nose or nasal passages. The condition is so rare, there were only 30 known cases as of 2007, according to the Journal of Medical Case Reports.
Eli garnered national attention as he and his family battled the condition, telling their tale through the now-deleted Facebook page called Eli’s story.
He received a tracheotomy at 5 days old and spent about a month in the hospital being he was able to go home with his parents, who had to keep a close eye on the infant because his condition kept him from making any noises when he cried.
Recently, Eli started to do speech therapy at home using a speaking valve, his father told AL.com. He communicated using baby sign language.
Eli was “very, very bright and happy, always smiling and giving everybody fist bumps,” Jeremy Finch told the outlet.
“He touched a lot of people’s lives. A lot of people cared about him.”
Finch confirmed the news of the toddler’s death in a Facebook post Sunday evening.
“We lost our little buddy last night. I’ll never be able to make sense of why this happened and this will hurt deeply for a long time but I’m so blessed to have had this beautiful boy in my life,” he wrote.
“He finished his race a lot earlier than we would have liked, but it was God’s time to bring him back home. I’ll forever look forward to seeing him at the gates of Heaven waiting on me to give me another one of his famous fist bumps! I love you little man. Rest in peace with my Father.”