Visiting Little Brooks!

For: Dillard Family
Organizer: Tracy and Rory Dillard
of $2,500 goal.
Raised by 66 donors
92% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

At almost 4 months of age, little Brooks Dillard has spent more than half his short life in the hospital.  For the last 8 weeks (as of 8/16/13), he has been at Seattle Children's Hospital.  He has been on a ventilator the entire time, has had two major surgeries with another one in his near future.

Brooks was born with a very rare congenital heart defect called Double Aortic Arch.  Normally, the aorta leaves the heart and branches off to supply the arteries going to the arms and head.  One of these branches then turns down to supply the lower body with blood.  In Brooks' case, both branches rejoined after wrapping around his trachea and esophagus.  The pressure from having the vascular ring this created constricted his airway and effectively prevented his trachea from developing properly.

Brooks has had two major surgeries already.  The first was to open the ring.  The second, called an aortopexy, was designed to reduce the pressure on his trachea.  This second surgery wasn't as effective as we had hoped and he will be receiving a third surgery, possibly an experimental ground-breaking one, in the very near future.

We have already raised quite a bit of money from the wonderful people out there with huge hearts and the resources to be able to help.  Unfortunately, the daily trip to visit Brooks typically costs $40-$50 and so we have been burning through the money as quickly as it comes in.

Anything given is greatly appreciated.  This has been an extremely stressful journey for us and the money raised has reduced one major aspect of that stress to a manageable level.  Thank you!

Updates for Brooks' journey are posted most days on his facebook page at

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 17, 2013 by Tracy and Rory Dillard
Daily updates are done on Brooks' facebook page at

It will be far easier to post all updates in one place.  Thank you for your support!

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Tracy and Rory Dillard
They say that no news is good news and today fits that phrase.  There won't be any major news 'til Wednesday after the cardiology team discusses the little guy's situation.

Swelling from fluid retention is almost completely gone and Brooks is handling the new medication much better than the morphine.  His lungs are still improving -- getting all that gunk out from the cold takes time.  The lobe that had collapsed is the worst off right now but its improving as well.

The pace of things is starting to slow down now and everyone seems to be settling in for the long wait.  That, by itself, is rather scary as it helps drive home the reality of how long he is going to be there.

There is always a bright side though.  We are thankful Brooks is no longer fighting for his life
thanks to the ventilator and constant care.  He is still in pretty serious condition but also really stable -- the chances of his condition worsening overnight are extremely slim.  There are a lot of families there at the hospital that can't say the same thing.

Periodically we also get peeks of normalcy from Brooks even through the drugs they've had him on.  Just like before he went to the hospital, he hates diaper changes with a passion but gently rubbing his little head settles him down.

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Tracy and Rory Dillard
Finally got to talk to the cardiologist and have more information.  Information is a double-edged sword though:  its great to finally have a few more answers but it can provide a huge reality check.  We also got pictures from the CT and will post them later when we can add explanations.

As we posted before, the two aortic arches are wrapping around the trachea and esophagus just above where the trachea splits to go to the lungs.  As a result, both his trachea and esophagus
are severely restricted in their ability to expand.  This will be clearer when we post the pics later.  One short term result is that his breathing tube will most likely remain until after the surgery.

We also got to talk a few surgery points as well.  The earliest the surgery would take place would be late this coming week but more likely sometime the following week. We will know more after a meeting of the cardiologists and cardiac surgeons on Wednesday. 

We then started talking actual surgery details and this is where the reality check happened.  The surgery itself is fairly simple (as far as cardiac surgeries go) but to get access to the aortas, his chest cavity will have to be opened...the equivalent to full on open heart surgery.  He
will also be on a heart/lung bypass machine for the surgery.

Long term care was another reality check too.  He could have an easy time and be completely healthy shortly after surgery.  He could also need serious ongoing respiratory assistance via cpap or worse.  A tracheotomy could also be necessary to allow for a beathing tube for that respiratory support.

All of the nurses and doctors here have been absolutely fantastic and we are so happy that Brooks is finally at Children's to receive the care he desperately needs.

Posted on June 23, 2013 by Tracy and Rory Dillard
Visiting at the hospital with little Brooks....

He has been moved to a crib; he was a little too big for the infant warmer they had him laying on.  He also hasn't had any new episodes of stopping breathing since our last visit but is still very dependent on the ventilator.  The ventilator is being used primarily to maintain a positive pressure in his airways so that they don't spontaneously collapse due to the crowding from the aortic arches.

He is also down to only getting morphine on a constant basis and is back to getting formula finally, although it is through a feeding tube.  He had been getting saline drips to keep him hydrated and its resulted in him swelling up a lot.  Getting back on formula will help the swelling tremendously.

We got to hold him for a little bit today but the effort required to move him from the bed to our arms with all the attached tubes and hoses was immense.  It also served to reinforce just how sick he is.  Each time he was moved the nurse had to disconnect his ventilator quickly and he immediately started having issues breathing.  It was extremely stressful experience for everyone.

We we're hoping to get to talk to the cardiologist today but they won't be around until tomorrow morning so the answers to many of our questions will have to wait until then.

The outpouring of support (both emotional and financial) from friends, family and even
people we don't know has been immense, heart warming and extremely appreciated.  Thank you all so much...

About the Organizer



Add Our Donation Widget to Your Site
Grab Our Widget

Visiting Little Brooks!

Grab Our Widget