Sometimes life gives you the good and the bad all at the same time.
Soon after Luke was born, Corey and I had a sinking feeling that something wasn’t right. Only ten days after his arrival, we found ourselves returning to The Children’s Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center to have Luke treated for a heart rate over three hundred beats per minute, A pediatric cardiologist was brought in to explain the diagnosis: Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).
As the weeks passed, Luke showed very little interest in eating and he was losing weight quickly. With a healthy three year old daughter, Molly, at home, we knew there was more to Luke’s health issues that SVT. By five weeks of age, Luke’s condition had become dyer. Unable to clearly diagnose his feeding difficulties, he was admitted back into the Children’s Hospital at Memorial labeled: Failure to Thrive (FTT).
As Luke continued to lose weight, the medical staff ran tests, drew blood, performed multiple procedures, and tried to determine why he could not eat properly. Challenged to determine the root cause of his inability to swallow normally, it was decided to have a feeding tube surgically placed into his stomach. That decision saved Luke’s life.
Unable to find answers to Luke’s complicated situation, the dedicated group of Savannah doctors and nurses that worked so hard to keep our son alive, referred us to a specialist in Atlanta. Luke’s condition was so rare, they were unable to diagnose him and he was referred to specialists in Cincinnati. After five long months of uncertainty, Luke was diagnosed with a very rare condition: Congenital Cricopharyngeal Acahalasia (CCA).
For the last four years, our search for answers has taken our family to children’s hospitals in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Milwaukee. Luke has had multiple procedures and surgeries all performed by our nation’s foremost experts on his condition. While our family had to see medical expertise outside of our local area, the physicians and staff at The Children’s Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center saved our son’s life.
We recently returned to the Children’s Hospital for surgery to have Luke’s feeding tube removed! The staff that has seen Luke for multiple surgeries and procedures over the last 4 ½ years were thrilled to share a joyful day with us! While Luke still has a long road of therapy ahead of him, he is thriving and doing well!
Corey and I hope that you will join us in supporting The Next Generation. The organization provides a positive healthcare experience for children and further advances the local medical care for our community’s children, through fundraising, volunteer service and educational social events. In addition, we offer a unique opportunity for hands-on volunteering that will make children and their family’s hospital experience more manageable.
It is my hope that none of your children will ever require services at The Children’s Hospital, but if they do, wouldn’t you want to be part of an organization who makes that difficult experience a little easier?
Heather Fountain is the co-founder of the Next Generation. Her passion to provide our community with an organization that supports children’s healthcare has taken root and grown into the Next Generation that you see today.