Open Heart Surgery Fund

$40,425 of $30k goal

Raised by 165 people in 38 months
Alley Sousa  UNIONTOWN, PA
Owen was born on December 07, 2013 and what was supposed to be the happiest moment of our lives, quickly turned from joy to fear as our newborn baby boy was quickly whisked away to the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital Level 4 NICU for a congenital bowel defect.

On his second day of life, Owen had a colostomy placed so he could eat and function like a somewhat "normal" baby. In May, Owen went under the knife again for a gruelling 6 hour surgery to repair the lower portion of his bowels, which were free-floating in his abdomen. In August (8/19/2014) Owen will have one more abdominal surgery to reverse his colostomy and finally ditch the expensive monthly ostomy supplies and be able to use his fully healed bowels! 

As if that wasn't hard enough to handle as new, first time parents, we discovered in July that our son has an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) that needs to be repaired with open heart surgery. This is essentially a large hole in his heart where blood is flowing in the wrong direction straining his heart muscles and allowing his lungs to be "wet" as oxygenated blood is improperly carried away from his heart. 

Without this open heart surgery to patch his heart, Owen's heart will become filled with blood moving in the wrong direction and fail.. which is a very scary thing to hear about your 8 month old baby. 

The bills are piling up and we're fortunate to have insurance, but we're still responsible for more than we can even imagine affording. We're turning to our community now, to help Owen pay for his open heart surgery so he can live a long, happy, and HEALTHY life and put all of these surgeries behind him. Your donation, no matter how big or how small, will bring our little family one step closer to being able to heal our son.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story, even if you are unable to support our fund, it means everything to us to spread Owen's story and give our little boy the recognition and health he deserves.
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Update 8
Posted by Ashley Sousa
27 months ago
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On December 14, 2014 the Portuguese American Cultural Center of Palm Coast, FL held a charity benefit for Owen!

Family, friends, and members of the club donated food and services as well as their time and money out of the goodness of their hearts. 150+ pounds of fish were donated and they spent all day cooking for the 350 people who attended the Benefit for Owen. Everyone's efforts and generosity made for a spectacularly successful event which showed pictures of Owen from his birth through his first year, told his story in detail, spread awareness for the birth defects, and brought in over $25,000 in donations to help defray the costs of his medical expenses.

We simply can't thank everyone enough for their generosity and t heir thoughtfulness. It's so amazing to know that our son, who will always be the most wonderful gift ever given to us, is also a gift to so many other people and how his little life has touched the hearts of so many people.

We can't wait to go to Florida so he can thank everyone who helped support him at the benefit and show off his battle scars!
Owen's Benefit in Palm Coast, FL
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Update 7
Posted by Ashley Sousa
28 months ago
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Owen wanted everyone to know how happy he is to be home!
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Update 6
Posted by Ashley Sousa
28 months ago
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As we're nearing the end of our 9 day hospital stay at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) with a tentative discharge of between 8am-12pm tomorrow morning, I'd like to thank everyone whose contributed to Owen's fund and raised us a grand total of $14,010 to date!

We're overwhelmed with gratitude and your kindness has brought us to tears. It isn't easy asking for help, it isn't easy accepting help, and we realize we will never be able to repay your generosity, but we CAN pay it forward!

Owen's heart surgery went well with no complications during the procedure, but there was a small "bump in the road" during his first 48 hours post-operative.

His right diaphragm wasn't contracting when he inhaled, so he was put on a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) and later switched to BiPAP (Bilateral Positive Air Pressure) machine, which uses positive pressure to inflate the lungs and makes it easier to breathe comfortably. This type of complication has two courses of treatment - the first is respiratory therapy and remaining on the CPAP/BiPAP machine or a surgical intervention. After 36+ hours on the machine, his surgeon made the executive decision to take the surgical route.

It was a quick (45 minute) procedure called a "plication of the diaphragm." The surgeon made a 2" long incision along the right side of his chest, between his ribs, folded his right diaphragm, and stitched it into place. The diaphragm "hugs" the lungs and contracts downward when you inhale and the lung expands. In Owen's case, the right diaphragm was paralyzed and wasn't "folding" when he inhaled, making it difficult and painful to breathe.

Complications aside, he's doing better than ever and is back to his normal, happy self! He's had daily x-rays and echocardiograms to confirm that his heart is functioning normally and his lungs are properly expanding. Owen has been eating, drinking, sitting up, playing, and even SMILING!

We wanted to thank everyone, again, and again for liking, sharing, and donating to Owen's cause. Your efforts have helped our little family out TREMENDOUSLY and just in time for us to celebrate a healthy, happy, baby boy for not only his first birthday coming up on December 7th but also the holidays. We are forever grateful to each and every one of you.

For those of you who donated and chose the "handprint" option, we will be printing and hand print "signing" your photos over the weekend and mailing them out by the end of next week!

Thank you.
The Sousa Family
Before going to the O.R on 11/13
Immediately post-op in the CICU
Feeling better! Sitting up, playing!
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Update 5
Posted by Ashley Sousa
29 months ago
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Today, 10/8/2014 at 8:00am, Owen had a lung profusion test at radiology and went down to the heart cath. lab around 9:45am to perform two diagnostic tests prior to his heart surgery, which we finally have a date for! The tests include: checking arterial/venous pressure within the heart and a coronary angiograph. The cardiac catheterization (heart cath.) involves being put under general anesthesia, inserting a soft tipped catheter into the femoral (thigh) artery and threading it up through the heart. Once in the heart, they use the catheter to inject a contrast visible on x-ray to create a "road map," of the heart and give them more insight to create their surgical plan.

Owen just got out of the cath. lab at 1:45pm, he's recovering in the PACU and we'll be with him while he wakes up and for 6 hours following to keep his legs straight in braces, which prevents dangerous clots from forming.

Thank you for everyone whose been following, liking, and sharing our story! We couldn't have done this without the love and support of Owen's family, friends, and the pure kindness of "strangers."

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$40,425 of $30k goal

Raised by 165 people in 38 months
Created February 6, 2014
LM
$475
Luis Medeiros
23 months ago

Money raised at the Azores night from the Friend Of the Azores Group

JB
$100
Jose and Or Ilda Bairos
27 months ago(Offline Donation)
JS
$100
Joao and Brian Sousa
27 months ago(Offline Donation)
BF
$50
Beatriz and Rogerio Ferreira
27 months ago(Offline Donation)
AS
$50
Antonio and Mary Sousa
27 months ago(Offline Donation)
MS
$6,773
Manuel Sousa
27 months ago(Offline Donation)

For Owen

MS
$6,127
Manuel De Moura and Maria Helena Sousa
27 months ago(Offline Donation)
JB
$10,000
Joao and Lucia Baptista
27 months ago(Offline Donation)

"God bless you."

FT
$100
Filipe and Maria Tavares
27 months ago(Offline Donation)
MG
$50
Manuel and Rosa Grova
27 months ago(Offline Donation)
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