5 year old Triplet: Surgical Chance of a Lifetime!

This is my nephew, Marshall. I am setting up this page to help my sister's family. Please read his story below.

He is a 5 year old spunky, determined, feisty, driven little boy. He is a triplet to his sister Reagan, and his identical brother, Brantley. He also has twin baby sisters Scarlet and Harlyn. Marshall was born prematurely, weighing in at just 2lb 2oz. But even at that small, he was a strong little fighter.

He was diagnosed with VACTERL Syndrome, an acronym for different anomalies without a 100% known cause. Marshall has had 6 surgeries beginning on his second day of life with two of them being in Cincinnati, Ohio for additional anomalies stemming from this syndrome, requiring a specialist.

Marshall has one kidney requiring blood draws a couple times a year and multiple follow ups with various doctors. He also has one ear that is underdeveloped (microtia of his left ear). Unfortunately, his ear canal closed off and is unable to hear from it.

It was known that Marshall was going to need surgery to help his ear look more like the other, but his parents were told he would have to wait until he was 9 years old. They told them that he would need multiple surgeries (up to 4) for different stages of this particular procedure.

His parents felt they would allow Marshall to decide once he was nine and believed they had plenty of time. That was until last year when Marshall began to notice his different ear and other kids began to as well. As he stood in the mirror one morning before school, staring at his ear, his dad walked in. Marshall asked, “Daddy, is my ear little?” His dad answered him honestly and Marshall responded, telling his dad another child at school commented about it. It was a heartbreaking moment for his parents- something they knew would happen but dreaded as well!

Since this time Marshall has begun to ask questions more frequently. These comments include, “Why did God make my ear like this?” “Why doesn’t Brantley have an ear like this?” “Do you like my ear?” “I hate my ear!”” “I wish God didn’t make my ear like this!” These are heartbreaking things to hear your child say about their self-image!

His mom began to research possible surgical procedures for his ear. She discovered that reconstruction could be done as early as 3 years of age and be completed in one procedure using what is known as a Medpor technique- performed by a specialist in California. Marshall’s parents swiftly had a zoom consult and were told Marshall may be a candidate to have his ear canal reconstructed requiring a second surgeon. If he was a candidate, Marshall could achieve hearing in his ear! This news was so incredible!

A cat scan was done and sent to the surgeons in California to determine if Marshall was a candidate. After a few weeks they received news that Marshall had scored well, meaning he was a good candidate for obtaining natural hearing (and achieving hearing within “normal range”) with creation of a canal.

The outer ear reconstruction and the ear canal reconstruction are two procedures and more often done over two surgical interventions, however it can be accomplished in a single 7-9 hour procedure with this particular team! These two surgeons are the only physicians worldwide that can do the combined procedure in a single surgery- the ear canal AND the outer ear anatomy utilizing the Medpor technique, which is known as Combined Atresia Microtia Repair (CAM). Marshall’s parents were anxious to get this procedure done as Marshall always asks when he can get it fixed, and although he may be frightened, he shows bravery to confront this and continues to express excitement in having his ear “look like the other one.”

With COVID-19 there have been cancellations for out of country patients. If an opening came up, his parents thought they would try to make it happen if they could. Well, an hour after finding out the results of Marshall’s CT scan on October 8, they received a call that a patient canceled their procedure for Wednesday October 14.

Marshall's parents were promptly referred to the financial department who, in turn, spoke with Marshall’s insurance company to see if they would cover some of the costs.  Unfortunately,  every procedure code provided was denied as it has been determined by insurance to be an elective procedure. The total expense for cash payment with a discount for this procedure is $87,000.

Following surgery, most patients and their families stay in California for four weeks but because of their other children and jobs, Marshall and his parents are unable to do this and will need to drive (Marshall won’t be able to fly due to the pressure changes) back and forth, once a week over 4 weeks.

Marshall more than deserves this opportunity and is critical for his mental health (both immediate and long-term), self-image, self-esteem, and confidence. It is proven that the earlier a child with this condition has the procedure done, the fewer long-term, adverse affects it has on these issues. The added bonus of him being able to hear is such an incredible gift and something that will aid in his learning and success throughout his life.

We are asking that if you can help this family with the intense financial needs required, it would be greatly appreciated. We also ask if you are able, please pray for this family, for their safe travels, and for Marshall, his recovery, and his long-term mental health. Thank you so much! God Bless!

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Organizer and beneficiary

Eohe Chambers 
Eugene, OR
Brianne Koumentis 
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