Nelson teenager Cody Walsh has successfully come through an uncommon type of surgery and was sitting up Thursday night in a Nelson Hospital bed with his "quirky sense of humour" intact, family friend Nyle Sunderland said.
Cody, 16, has a rare and potentially fatal condition where the bowel sits incorrectly in the body and in September last year had an emergency operation to remove most of his upper and lower intestine.
It meant he was unable to eat and was fed a glucose solution directly into his bloodstream. His only chance of eating normally again is an upper intestine and liver transplant in Toronto, Canada, which has a price tag expected to top $1 million.
But Thursday's operation, which joined the remaining parts of the upper and lower intestine as well as removing the gall bladder, meant, if it was ultimately successful, Cody would be able to eat about the equivalent of a sandwich worth of calories each day, Ms Sunderland said.
It was a very rare operation which meant the large bowel had to learn to absorb nutrients and Cody would still mostly be fed through an artery, she said. Other cases had mixed rates of success, with some patients still unable to eat after two years.
A blog - www.codywalsh.blogspot.com - has been set up to help raise funds and awareness for Cody's plight. Donations can also be made to the Cody Walsh Transplant Fund at any Westpac branch or into various collection tins in bars and cafes in Nelson.