Christian L. was born a healthy little boy on February 28, 2013. Once home though, his mom worried that his breathing seemed labored and his color wasn’t right–not like the other three babies she’d had. She was told several times that if he was eating, he was fine. However, at his two-week check-up, Christian was whisked off to the emergency room after the doctors found his oxygen saturation extremely low. Multiple tests revealed that Christian was suffering with heterotaxy–a disease so rare that it is diagnosed in only one out of every four million births. Babies born with this condition often have organs that are missing, deformed, reversed in their arrangement or misplaced. They diagnosed Christian with a severe heart condition, a missing spleen, multiple organs reversed in the body and duplicates of these. For example, his left lung was where a left lung should be, but was a duplicate of the right lung.
Christian needed very complicated open-heart surgery. While he has great cardiologists near home, the best pediatric cardiac surgeon on the west coast is at Stanford. With limited resources and the inability to fly commercially due to his compromised immune system, the family would have been forced to drive from Yakima, WA to Palo Alto, CA–a long drive under the best of situations.
Mom, Aimee, was directed to Angel Flight Georgia, and then to AFW from a heterotaxy support page on Facebook. With a number of challenges both pre- and post-surgery, AFW was able to transport the family. While we can debate the merits of social media, there isn’t a more meaningful way to use it than the way this family has done. They are thrilled with AFW and Aimee’s Facebook post is the front page article, 10 Reasons We Love AFW. To find out more about Christian and his battle, see his Facebook page at “Christian’s Soldiers.”