Eli was diagnosed with HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) during his mother’s second trimester of pregnancy. HLHS is a Congenital Heart Defect that causes babies to be born with a missing or poorly developed fourth chamber. Even before Eli’s birth in February 2009, surgeons prepared for his first heart surgery which was performed when he was 2 days old. Eli underwent a second heart surgery again at age 2.
On January 14th, 2016, Eli underwent his third open heart surgery at Valley Children’s Hospital in central California. The surgical team spent the first eight hours cutting through the scar tissue from Eli’s previous surgeries. Then the team began the tedious and high risk task of making repairs to Eli’s heart to allow him to function with all four chambers. The surgery lasted over 24 hours before the surgeons felt they could close up Eli’s chest and send him to Pediatric ICU.
After many weeks, Eli remains in PICU. He has undergone additional procedures while in PICU to support his healing. He will continue to stay at Valley Children’s for an unknown period, as he continues intensive physical therapy, respiratory therapy, and independent school. Needless to say, Eli is a brave little boy.
The reality of Eli’s medical needs over the last several weeks have been stressful for his parents, Jason and Tanya Wedehase. They have watched the medical staff respond when Eli coded in the early days after surgery. They have made decisions on a daily basis to facilitate Eli’s progress. To do this, they have been by Eli’s side each day, staying on the hospital grounds in a borrowed RV. They have been away from their other two children during the week. Eli has an older sister and a younger brother, who have been staying with family since the day of the surgery so they can attend their neighborhood school.
The funds Jason received from the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) for the first few weeks covered the cost of mortgage, utilities, and routine monthly obligations. Although the FMLA allows for a 12-week leave, it does not provide for pay during the entire time.
At this time, Eli has been in PICU for almost two months. The enormous medical bills which will leave a tremendous burden on the family's finances. Additionally, Jason and Tanya have incurred many costs for meals while staying on site and gasoline as they travel to visit their Eli's siblings. There is the loss of income during the extended time off for Jason while Eli is hospitalized. Once he is released, he will need continual care for life.
As close family friends, we are creating this compassionate fundraiser to give others the opportunity to support the Wedehase family. We are hope you will consider joining us to support Eli's recovery. Your donations will:
- help pay for Eli's continued support and medical needs when he is released (he has a tracheotomy and will need a ventilator at home)
- help chip away at the astronomical medical bills from this surgery and recovery
- subsidized Jason's income on the occasional days he needs to take off to continue to be present with Eli while he is hospitalized, and support when he is released
- provide for the additional costs for meals, gasoline, and other costs incurred while Jason and Tanya stay in an RV on hospital grounds
If you choose to mail a donation rather than give through this site, please mail your donation to: Eli's New Heart, c/o New Path Center, POB 874, Kingsburg, CA 93631-0874