Thursday, March 19, 2015

JACOB’S FUND :: “You never think it’s going to be you…” The heartbreak of heart defects

Liam, post surgery
USA :: It was this little face on a friend’s Facebook page, pleading for medical assistance, that caught TRTP Vice President Sonya’s attention. She clicked on the picture to learn about Liam, an infant who will be fighting an up-hill battle his entire life due to a life-threatening congenital heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot (TET).

Sadly, The Red Thread Promise is VERY familiar with Tetralogy of Fallot as it has touched our lives directly through the loss of both Jacob Noah Beachy and little Ping from China. The family’s story struck a chord with us, an instant connection, and we knew down to our core that we had an obligation to help.

Newborn Liam, before surgery
“I loved you before you were born.” ~ Maureen Hawkins

At mom Kara’s 20-week ultrasound, the couple were given devastating news that their unborn son had a rare and serious congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. This young couple’s life was soon consumed by bi-weekly echocardiagrams, visits with the cardiology team, surgical team and much more frequent OBGYN appointments.

To add insult to injury, three weeks before Kara’s maternity leave, her company unexpectedly chose to part ways with her as they appeared not so understanding of her family’s predicament and the time these appointments took from her job. Once again, Kara and Edward were devastated and terrified. The specter of certain and serious health problems their unborn son would suffer coupled with the suffocating onslaught of cumulative medical bills that could not be paid from their single income overwhelmed them. 
“My husband and I continue to lean on God and our faith, trusting things would work out while we try to hold it together emotionally...fearful of what lies ahead for our family and our youngest son.” ~ Kara

Mom and Dad and their newborn son
Not the birthday his parents expected.

When Liam arrived in September, a whirlwind of medical teams took over his care during his three weeks in the NICU - very expensive care and another blow to the family’s finances. October and November were spent establishing a routine for this precious, but fragile, infant. Then one night in early December Liam stopped breathing in his mother’s arms. Frantically, Kara prepared to perform CPR on the kitchen counter, her 7-year-old watching, while paramedics were en route. 

Dad getting ready to hand Liam over to the surgical team,
the scariest moment of this young couple's lives
That fateful night marked the beginning of a month-long stay at Texas Children's Hospital and an immediate open heart surgery. Several times the couple thought they might lose Liam; he had to be intubated, and faced  unknown respiratory issues. Birthdays, Christmas, and New Year's were spent in the hospital... all-the-while doing their best to attend to Liam’s 7-year-old big brother. The mountain of medical bills grew ever higher.

Thankfully, on January 10, 2015, Liam was released from the hospital after receiving a pacemaker. But his journey is far from over and definitely not an easy one. 

At just four months of age, Liam is a high risk for practically everything. Due to his compromised health, he is unable to be vaccinated so his family is virtually isolated from outsiders so as not to introduce any type of germ or virus to their home. Only a tiny core group of people are allowed around Liam and every precaution is being taken. 

Over the next year, Liam will face multiple monthly appointments with specialists to monitor his condition and plan for future treatment. Eventually, Liam will receive a pulmonary valve replacement and additional surgeries are anticipated throughout his life. 

Kara and Liam

How you can help.

You know us. We couldn’t just read about this child, talk to his mother at length, and walk away. We have committed to helping the family with current and future medical care for Liam. We also had some unexpected fun baby shopping (not a usual thing for us!) to provide items that Liam will need over the next year: cases of specialized formula, diapers and some fun things as well. 

Please help us support Liam’s journey to a healthier heart. Gifts in his name are fully tax deductible.

Checks can be sent to:
The Red Thread Promise
249 N. Belfield Ave, Havertown, PA 19083
Simply put the word “Liam” on the check’s memo line.

By credit card (click on PayPal button - no PayPal account necessary)
If you donate online, kindly send an email to stating how you want your donation allocated.

Thank you for your continual support of children in need of medical intervention via The Red Thread Promise. Paying it forward.

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