Almost 10 years ago, I met this awesome redheaded girl who made me laugh out loud at everything, so we immediately became great friends. Today, she is still one of my best friends, so I'm sharing this story for her and her family, who will soon have a new PERFECT baby boy.
On April 18, 2017, Alexis and Steve were ecstatic to announce their pregnancy. 3 months later, on July 17, during their gender reveal ultrasound, they were made aware that their little one would be a bouncing baby boy, however, the news that followed, has forever changed their world. Baby Boy Caton was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) - a congenital heart disease that affects the growth of the left side of the heart. (https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/hlhs.html)
As they tirelessly searched the best possible options for their little heart warrior, Alexis and Steve have chosen to deliver at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP - www.chop.edu/), where baby will have his first open heart surgery at 1 week old. Can you imagine? 1 week old, and this little bundle of joy will go through something most of us could never fathom. After that, he will have 2 more surgeries to correct the left side of his heart, at 3 months and 3 years old. However, I know in my heart and because I've witnessed it first hand, this little boy and mommy will have the best care by the best heart surgeons, doctors, and medical staff while they are there.
For me, this news was a heartbreak when she first told me, as I have watched another dear friend go through this disease with her now 5 year old son (who is doing extremely well), but the treatment and healing process for this disease is traumatic, to say the least, for the patient and the family. This little boy is the same age as Ryan, Alexis and Steve's oldest son, and Alexis was always there following my friend's story. She even graciously donated to his fund in need when she heard about his heart warrior journey.
Now, it is our turn to give back to this amazing little family that we all love so much. A family that has always been there for me, and I know so many others, as well. Alexis and family have been traveling back and forth to Philadelphia for the last few months, getting ready for delivery. You can imagine, with all of that travel, how bills may be stacking up for them. This doesn't even start to include any medical bills, or future travel, that they will incur, once baby is here. This time for baby will take away from mom and dad's time to work, as they will be in the hospital for up to a month after his first surgery, and they will travel back to Philadelphia several more times for evaluations, treatments, and additional surgeries in the near future.
I have seen first hand the stress, heartache, and insurmountable stack of bills this journey provides a family, and this is why I have chosen to set up this YouCaring fundraiser for them. I hope with my whole heart, that as they embark on this journey, we as friends, family, and even strangers, can help ease a little bit of stress for them. Entering the holiday season, I know pockets become tight for everyone, but please remember that every little amount helps. If unable to donate, I know the family and all of their friends will appreciate all of your positive thoughts, energy and prayers for baby and mom.
The family has chosen a name for this little heart warrior, and it is very well chosen!
Aidan: Gaelic meaning - Little Fire
AIDAN, you are going to forever be the LITTLE FIRE in our Hearts! We cannot wait to meet you!
All my love for the Ashley & Caton Families,