Brayden's medical journey

As some of you may already know, the last two months have been a whirlwind of surgery, procedures, tests and doctors appointments for Brayden. What started out last fall as a routine doctor appointment addressing a small concern of an abscess, that was then treated by two rounds of antibiotics, turned into much, much more. By Christmas break the abscess was still an issue and the antibiotics were not clearing it up. We were sent to a surgeon at the beginning of this year to see how surgery may help. Surgery was performed on Valentines day, and a biopsy was done, as this would make sure nothing further was causing the persistent abscess. When the results of the biopsy came in, a week later, it was expressed by the surgeon that there was concern over the inflammation it showed.  We were referred to the GI team at Helen Devos Children's Hospital. At this appointment, they set up immediate dates to perform an endoscopy, colonoscopy, blood draws and a special MRI.

Through all the test and procedures that were performed over the following weeks, the GI team was able to identify just how sick Brayden is. He was diagnosed with severe Crohn's disease. As parents, we were devastated to learn of this chronic auto-immune disease that will effect Brayden for his whole life. The treatment options are just as scary. The only medications that are able to treat his severe condition are through either continuous bi-weekly injections or bi-monthly infusions. He will have to have monthly blood draws for the next 6 months to monitor his immune system because there is a high risk it will be affected by his medication. There are also risks of Lymphoma and skin cancer, so there will be regular checks to make sure we are monitoring for any signs of these as well.

This whole process has been such a strain on Brayden. He is not used to having to miss school for such great lengths of time for not only tests, procedures and various appointments, but also dealing with the effects of having Crohn's. Hopefully with the start of his treatment, later this week, Brayden will slowly start to see some improvement. It will take some time for his body to heal. Our ultimate goal is remission from the disease. Unfortunately, it will take another endoscopy, colonoscopy and special MRI, before the end of the year to ensure the medication is healing his body.

As you can imagine, even with insurance all of this is becoming extremely costly. We have been given some supplemental insurance options for future use, as they will apply just to the treatment of Brayden's condition. However it cannot be applied to anything we have already had done. As we have been slowly sharing Brayden's story, so many of you have asked how you can help, and some of you have even suggested starting a GoFundMe Page to help with all the medical costs we are facing. We have a hard time asking for help from others, we don't usually find ourselves in this position. After much thought and prayer, we realized that this situation is more then we can take on, on our own, and that it's okay to put ourselves out there to our family and friends and know that asking for help is okay. Thank you to everyone who has already reached out with advice, positive thoughts and prayers, they mean everything during this time. Thank you in advance if you consider to help offer any financial support, it means so much! We are more than grateful and appreciate any and everything! Blessings to all!

Shon and Jess

Donations ()

  • Andrea Nyhof 
    • $50 
    • 25 mos
  • Marcia Keane 
    • $100 
    • 25 mos
  • Chelsea Hathcock 
    • $100 
    • 25 mos
  • Claudia/Richard Kerbawy  
    • $100 
    • 25 mos
  • Sandy & Johan VanderTol 
    • $100 
    • 25 mos
See all

Organizer

Jessica Vander Tol Coleman 
Organizer
Grand Rapids, MI
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