Four year old heart patient’s wish comes true

April 28, 2016

4-22-16 Make a Wish Magic Kingdom (SBCSIDESHOWGOOFYINCHAIR)
By Rosemary Horvath

Four-year-old Kaiden Barron will have the Magic Kingdom to think about during another stay in the hospital.
On May 27 he will be a patient at the University of Michigan CS Mott Children’s Hospital, in Ann Arbor, undergoing another heart surgery — his fifth.

Kaiden, parents Ashley and John, and three siblings journeyed to Florida for a thrilling all-expense paid excursion made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This organization believes in granting the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition, because wishes make life better for kids.

“Kaiden turned 4 on Easter Sunday at Disney World,” said his mother from the family’s Middle Branch Township home.
A student at Head Start in Marion, Kaiden was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS, a complex and rare heart defect present at birth.

Put simply, the left side of the heart was critically underdeveloped at birth and couldn’t effectively pump blood to the body. This leaves the right side of the heart doing most of the work pumping blood to the lungs and to the rest of the body.
The Mott hospital website indicates the cause is unknown and occurs during fetal growth in about one out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. each year. Two-thirds of the babies affected are boys.

“We had a lot of prenatal care,” added Ashley, so the condition four days after Kaiden’s birth came as a surprise and shock for the parents. “The only way to fix his heart is a heart transplant.”

Until that is possible, Kaiden will undergo surgeries.

He had a heart test prior to the Florida trip that showed his heart valves and vessels are narrowing and his heart is enlarging, Ashley said. “The surgery is to intervene. This one just scares me.”

Mott hospital trains Ashley and John on how to handle situations. In the beginning they learned how to manipulate tubes their baby Kaiden required. “Mott teaches you everything you want to know and to become certified,’ she said.

His stem cells were donated to help in the research of HLHS. Remarkable strides have been made in recent years. Mott is a worldwide leader in the treatment of HLHS.

“Donating stem cells is a step in the right direction,” Ashley added. “We were willing to help because it could benefit us and someone else.”

One day manufacturing a heart through 3D technology may be possible.

“Mentally, he’s above normal for a 4-year-old,” Ashley said of her son. “He has a normal functioning life. I don’t think he knows he’s different from other kids, but he does know his limit. He gets winded and takes a break. He runs and plays all the time.”

Both sides of the family pitch in to take care of things when John and Ashley travel with Kaiden for hospital stays. John is a press operator at Cadillac News.

“The trip to Florida was exhausting. It was our first time at Disney World. We spent a week there. Kaiden went to the Magic Kingdom twice on his birthday. We went to Epcot and Sea World.”

Ashley said the trip included a stay at Give Kids the World “storybook” Resort, where there was free ice cream, a movie theater, fishing, putt-putt golf and a pool. “And the weather was great.”

Ashley, relatives and friends will hold a bake sale at Valu Land in Marion on May 14 to raise spending money for the trip to Ann Arbor. They plan to be there when the store opens at 9 a.m. They had a bake sale a few years ago too. Donations will be accepted.

The Barrons won’t know if Kaiden’s stay at Mot will be two weeks or four. “You just never know,” she said.

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