‘Baby Izzy’ loses fight with illness

GLOVERSVILLE-After a 10-month battle with mitochondrial disease and months of more questions than answers, Isabelle “Baby Izzy” Elaine Sherman died Wednesday.

According to her obituary, Sherman was born April 16, 2012, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam, and her last moments were spent at her home in Gloversville surrounded by her loving family.

In the few short months of her life, she was able to touch and inspire thousands locally and internationally.

A Facebook page called “Help Isabelle Grow” garnered almost 60,000 followers as it chronicled Izzy’s fight with the disease and her multiple hospital stays. “Team Izzy” members provided support, donations, prayers, gifts and kind words for the family.

The Sherman family was unavailable for comment in time for this article.

“Please [know] that the family is staying strong [and] doing the best that they can with the loss of Izzy,” a post on the Facebook page said.

At first, the baby’s illness puzzled doctors at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Instead of growing like a typical baby, Isabelle was losing weight.

Isabelle was diagnosed with a number of medical problems, including severe gastroesophageal reflux disease, reactive airway disease, scoliosis and failure to thrive, but none of these diagnoses could explain why she was still the size of a newborn after several months.

The baby had two surgeries in the first month of her life and had to be fed through a feeding tube. When Isabelle was admitted to Albany Medical Center on Sept. 20, she was at a dangerously low weight of 7 pounds, 14.5 ounces.

Stephanie Sherman, her mother, couldn’t work because she had to care for Isabelle, and her husband, Kenneth Sherman, lost his job because he was missing work to be with their daughter when she was going in and out of hospitals.

The trips back and forth between Gloversville and Albany and other medical costs put the family in debt, Stephanie Sherman told The Leader-Herald last year.

Faith’s Hope Foundation, a California-based organization, helped the family by paying its back rent, Stephanie Sherman said.

In October, the family said it had received about $5,000 in donations.

A celebration of Izzy’s life will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Betz, Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Home, 171 Guy Park Ave., Amsterdam, where friends may gather after 1:30 p.m. The Rev. Dr. R.W. Williams will officiate.

The service will be public and will be followed by a private gathering to celebrate her life with close family and friends.