Let’s help Liam fight against Congenital Hydrocephalus
Dearest Family and Friends,
There is an old African proverb that states, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and we are coming to you now to ask you to please become part of Liam’s village!
As most of you know, on the 17th of September 2015, my son Jesse Schwartz (24) and his fiancee Ashley Webb (21) became the very proud parents of a beautiful baby boy, Liam Chesley Schwartz! This, of course, made Martin and I new, and extremely happy, grandparents 🙂 Liam is a happy, talkative boy who loves his kittens, swimming (any kind of water really), playing with his older cousins and fishing/camping with mom and dad. His first camping trip was when he was about a month old and he has gone several times over this last year.
A week later that carefree time came to an abrupt end when little Liam was diagnosed with Congenital Hydrocephalus— a buildup of excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain at birth. The extra fluid can increase pressure in the baby’s brain, causing brain damage and mental and physical problems. This condition is rare.
Monday, 3rd of October will be the start of a lifetime journey for Liam and his parents. The 3 of them, along with Liam’s much loved another gramma (Ashley’s mom Rae-Anne) will be driving down to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, to start a battery of tests, scans and ultrasounds throughout the week before undergoing his first surgery to have a shunt put in to drain the CSF. We know he also has slight bleeding on the brain and the specialists will be working out a course of action to stop it. Right now Liam is dealing with painful migraines due to the pressure in his head. These keep him up for 2 or 3 days in a row, screaming in pain and vomiting!
The long-term diagnosis is that Liam will have a shunt for the rest of his life, being changed periodically as he grows or if infection and complications occur, and may have some sort of physical and/or cognitive disability due to the pressure of the CSF. Tests will also be done to see just how much pressure there is on the head of the spinal cord and if/how it will affect Liam’s future.
This beautiful little family lives about 5.5 hours from Children’s Hospital so each commute will require specific planning and more importantly, time off work for both Jesse (a maintenance hand at a copper mine about 3 hours from home where he usually stays overnight for his shifts) and Ashley (who nannies 3 boys part-time to help with the family income). Whilst they will be staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver, they do need to supply their own travel expenses, food, and commute to and from the hospital. Although they already live in a small 2 bdrm basement suite, they may need to move into something even smaller and more affordable to cut their costs so that Jesse can attend as many tests, exams and surgeries as possible to provide both physical and emotional support to Liam and Ash.
Martin and I have set up this campaign in the hopes of being able to help with those costs, and to help with rent payments for the next 4-6 months as during this time Liam will undergo his first surgery for his first shunt and will need to travel back and forth for checkups on a regular basis. We absolutely feel Liam would do best staying in the house he knows with his two little kittens whom he adores. If they have to move, there is every chance the kittens would have to go to a new home, which would be devastating for him.
These funds would also ensure that Jesse could be there for every hospital and Dr visit, something that is so very important to him!
We feel that with your help, we can reach this modest, yet badly needed goal! We recognize that this is the time of year that people are getting ready for Christmas and that everyone has their own financial needs, so we absolutely understand if you cannot donate at this time. If this is the case, please know there are other ways to support Liam, Jesse and Ashley, and all of us, his extended family. Cards, phone calls, messages via social media, and any and all words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated…and needed!
Each donation, no matter the amount, will be accepted with humbled hearts and a prayer of thanks. From all of Liam’s grandparents, Rae-Anne, Adrian and Yolanda, and us, Martin and Tina, Aunty Tayli, Uncle Kyle and from Jesse and Ashley, we thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read Liam’s story and for finding it in your heart to join his “village”.
God bless each and every one of you!