Bekham's Heart

On November 29, 2017, our family grew by one fantastic little boy. He came into this world weighing 4 lbs. 6 ounces. He was for sure #tinybutmighty.  We were officially a family of four and our hearts were utterly content. Other than being small, Bekham Oliver James Mitchell was the epitome of perfection. 

As we were getting ready to be released from the hospital, Bekham’s pediatrician was doing the typical last checks to clear him to go home. In this check, she heard a murmur when listening to his heart. At this, she ordered an echocardiogram.  Time stood still as we waited for this test to be performed and find out the results.  A few hours later (which felt as if we waited days), the doctor comes in to tell us Bekham had a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. As she was talking, Cherie and I sat stunned. I think we heard about 10% of what she was saying.  It made no sense. Why didn’t we know about this? We had so many ultrasounds. How could this happen to our perfect little boy? The tears came. The questions came. The anger came. Then our fighting spirit came. What needs to be done to fight this? The doctor simply stated open heart surgery is his only chance.  So, from that point on, our life’s mission has been to take care of this little man.

            We have learned so much about his heart condition. You see, Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a congenital heart defect involving four abnormalities occurring together.  These include: a hole between the lower chambers of the heart, an obstruction from the heart to the lungs, the aorta lies over the hole in the lower chambers and the muscle surrounding the lower right chamber becomes overly thickened. The doctors also told us Bekham may have what’s known as TET spells. He may turn blue. This happens because oxygen-poor blood is pumped to the body through the hole in the wall between the right and left ventricle instead of being pumped to the lungs. These spells are triggered by dehydration and him being highly upset. So, we have done our best to keep him calm (that’s difficult with an infant) and fed adequately. That doesn’t sound difficult but babies with TOF tire easy and may not eat a lot. We have to keep him feeding. Remember, he only weighed 4 pounds 6 ounces. The doctors wanted him to be at least 10 pounds before surgery. Thankfully, Bekham hasn’t suffered any of these spells and is up to 11 pounds!! Major victories!

            So, our lives have been put on hold. In an effort to keep Bekham monitored, strong, and well for surgery, we made the decision that Cherie would stay home with him. Daycare would only increase the probability for sickness and TET spells. Surgery can only be performed if he is completely healthy and TET spells mean an earlier surgery. An earlier surgery means he is smaller and it’s riskier. We’ve had numerous doctor’s appointments that have required me to take days away from work. All of this comes as a financial sacrifice.  One that we gladly take on but still have to plan and work through.

That is where our friends and family can help us. Costs are high for this and surgery is our only option.  We go to Charlotte for his appointments and that is where his surgery will be - mid March at Levine Children’s Hospital. Surgery will require us to be away from home for a week or possibly more during his hospital stay. Thankfully, most of the medical costs will be covered through insurance but we still have several costs associated with loss of income, travel expenses and time away from work. If you cannot financially help, please send Bekham strong energy and love. His first few weeks of life have been filled with visits to the cardiologist and surgeon. He deserves a happy and healthy life.  We have to get him through this so his life can truly begin. Thank you so much for your support. Please feel free to share. He needs all the love and positive energy he can get. 

Bekah, Cherie, Marley, and Bekham










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Bekah Mitchell 
Winston-Salem, NC
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