Fundraiser to help family whose newborn required open-heart surgery
Twenty weeks into her first pregnancy, Amber Shore and her husband Adam learned a lot about the child Amber was carrying.
The young Thomasville couple learned, for example, that their firstborn child would be a son. At the same prenatal visit, though, the doctor delivered some bad news: The baby had some sort of heart abnormality that would require further testing.
“They discovered he had three benign tumors located in his heart chambers,” Amber says. “One, in particular, was large enough to where it was blocking blood flow — there was about a 50-percent blockage through the RVOT (right ventricular outflow tract). We went to a specialist, and we were told Blake may need open-heart surgery at the time of his birth.”
What a rude welcome to parenthood that was.
“It was very difficult,” Amber acknowledges. “There’s a fear of the unknown obviously, but the biggest thing for us has been just keeping our faith in the Lord, because we know He’s going to get us through this.”
Blake arrived on Aug. 21, weighing a robust 8 pounds, 13 ounces.
“He went into surgery the very next morning,” Amber says, explaining that Blake had been born at Forsyth Medical Center, but was transferred to Brenner Children’s Hospital for the operation.
“They went in and cut along the heart chamber wall and removed the largest tumor. The other two they left, because they tend to shrink over time. We’ve already got appointments scheduled to follow up and make sure they’re shrinking.”
The delicate surgery lasted nearly five hours. A few days later, he had a feeding tube inserted.
“It’s normal for cardiac babies to not want to eat, so that’s how he gets his nutrients,” Amber explains. “He bottle-feeds fine, but he’ll need to keep the tube for a while longer to make sure he’s getting enough nutrients.”
Blake has a condition called tuberous sclerosis, which causes nonmalignant tumors — known as rhabdomyomas — to grow in the brain, heart and other vital organs. He also has cysts on his brain and in his kidneys, which will be monitored to ensure they’re not cancerous.
He remained in the neonatal intensive care unit at Brenner for the first six weeks of his life, finally getting to go home this past week.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Blake’s disease has generated a mountain of medical bills that’s continuing to grow.
As a result, friends in the Thomasville community are planning a fundraiser Friday to help with the family’s medical expenses. The event, taking place at Oak Hill Memorial Baptist Church, will include a hot dog dinner, a silent auction, a raffle, a bake sale, and the sale of “Prayers For Blake” rubber bracelets.
“We’re doing this to help Adam and Amber with their medical expenses or any other needs they may have,” says event organizer Meggan Nobles.
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Want to go?
A fundraising benefit for the Shore family will be held Friday, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., at Oak Hill Memorial Baptist Church, 1793 Tower Road, Thomasville.
The event will include a hot dog dinner (two hot dogs, chips, dessert and a drink for $6); a silent auction with more than 70 items; a 50/50 raffle (tickets are $1 apiece, $5 for six, $10 for 15); a bake sale; and the sale of “Prayers For Blake” bracelets for $2 apiece.
All proceeds will go to Blake’s family to assist with medical expenses.
For those who would like to donate but cannot attend the event, contact event organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.