Thursday, June 3, 2010

Close to My Heart!

Hello friends! Here is a story that is very close to my heart. I hope you will take a moment to read it!

My dear friend Darla and I have been the best of friends since we were small children. We grew up next door to each other from the time we were babies. We now have children of our own and though we are miles apart, we are still knit together in a way that can't be explained. She is a woman I absolutely love and adore!

Darla's second child, Nick, was born in 2004 - with a tumor. The tumor was located INSIDE of Nick's heart, inter-twined around the septum and invading all 4 chambers of the heart.

(The above photo was taken of Darla and me [Darla is holding my oldest child, Riley who is only 4 months older than Nick] at the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City during one of Nick's visits to Primary Children's Medical Center. Darla has always kept a smile on her face, and has exhibited more strength than I ever thought possible for a mother in her situation).

At just 5 months of age, significant growth of the tumor caused the several cardiologists at PCMC to recommend open-heart surgery immediately to attempt removing some of this growth and to at minimum gather a biopsy to determine the type of tumor they were dealing with. Surgery was performed immediately, but with little success. The tumor appeared to be inoperable. They determined that the tumor classification was of the FIBROMA family. Fibromas tend to grow sometimes. Nicholas was put on serious heart medicine. His heart managed to compensate in some way for the tumors growth and the space it took up. He was still monitored by Primary Children's Medical Center on a very regular basis.

At just 3-1/2 years old, little Nick underwent a 10-hour surgery to have an ICD (pacemaker /defibrillator) implanted. Before this, Nick's heart had begun fibrillating - causing him to pass out. For 2-1/2 years, the ICD has paced Nick's heart 15% of the time and has defibrillated him approximately 6 times!

Nick is now 6-years-old. Recently, his heart has not been responding to the defibrillation as quickly as it needs to and has required more than one "therapy shock" to snap out of its fatal ventricular tachycardia rhythm. Many times this rhythm reaches 300 to 400 beats per minute.

Due to this problem, his pediatric cardiologists now recommend re-opening the heart and attempting once again to remove the tumor.

This procedure has not been done before because there has not been a case quite like Nick's. There is great risk in not taking steps at this time to correct the problems he is experiencing, but also risk in performing this major operation. He will be seen by a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on June 15, 2010 to attempt this feat.

In an effort to help with the cost of this surgery, a fundraiser has been organized for Thursday, June 10th, at the Shelley High School in Idaho Falls, Idaho. More info here

If you are unable to attend, there are other ways you can help!

Make a cash donation to the "We {Heart} Nick" Foundation

It's easy and only takes a credit/debit card and a couple of minutes! Service provided by PayPal.

Purchase Simply Jen products
Make an online purchase between June 1st and June 10th and
20% of the profits will be donated to the We {Heart} Nick Foundation! I will also be attending the fundraiser and donating Simply Jen products for the fund-raising auction and raffle!

Either way, please give what you can. This is a very special little boy with a very special family and your support/donation/purchase regardless of the amount would make such a difference!

Thank you in advance for your generosity in helping a family I love so very much!

Lots of love, (many x's & o's!)

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