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This fundraiser ended on 11/19/12

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Friends of Garrett are uniting to raise money to send this sweet DiGeorge Syndrome baby to Childrens Hosp of Philadelphia!

January 28th, 2011 (Due March 31st 2011) Garrett Tripp Shelton was born via emergency c-section because his heart rate was dropping, and he was in distress. He didn't cry, he was blue, and his heart rate was weak. He was immediately placed on a ventilator and stabilized. The next morning, his family was informed that he was having some pretty severe seizures and that initial tests indicated there was something seriously wrong with his heart. He was also extremely swollen. He was given medications to help decrease the fluid. Within 24 more hours, he had lost a pound. He was 3lbs 5oz.

Garrett spent 5 weeks in the local hospitals NICU before he became critically ill with a potentially fatal intestinal infection. He was then transported via helicopter to Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. He was sedated heavily and was given multiple antibiotics to fight the infection. When he was well enough, and big enough, he underwent his first open heart surgery. He was 8 weeks old when he had a pulmonary artery band placed to reduce the blood flow to the lungs. The plan was to let him recover from that surgery, grow some more, and within the next year, go back in and fully repair the heart.

Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. When Garrett was 10 weeks old, he was transferred back to the NICU in Meridian so he could be closer to home, and he would grow, and his preemie lungs would improve enough for him to go home until it was time for his following surgery. Instead of getting stronger, and growing, he became sicker, and lost weight.

At 13 weeks old, he was once again transferred to Batson Children's Hospital. This time, he was admitted into the PICU due to the fact that he was in congestive heart failure. He was more than 3 months old, and he was only 5lbs and 1 ounce, and that included all of the extra fluid his body was holding onto. He also ended up with the same life threatening intestinal infection for not only a second time, but a third as well.

Garrett was so critical that he was placed in a drug induced coma in order to keep him stable. He wasn't well enough to undergo another open heart surgery at that point. He would randomly desat (heart rate, and oxygen levels drop dangerously low), and would need to be bagged, even while on the ventilator. Garrett had been intubated so long, that the doctors believed that it was actually causing him more distress. He also didn't tolerate his NG tube being placed into his nose for feedings. The decision was made that he would have a tracheotomy and gastronomy tube placed.

The surgeries were going to be done at the same time, since he didn't do well with anesthesia. Once he was in the OR, prepped and ready to go, he coded. His heart stopped, his breathing stopped, his O2 levels were ZERO. He was revived, but was clearly not stable enough for surgery. He was moved back to the PICU, and his surgeons came up with another plan.

It took two more attempts before he was finally trached. Even after his trach was placed, he still had desat spells. Sometimes more than 30 per hour. Someone had to be at his bedside around the clock.

He needed a G Tube for his feedings, so when he was stable enough for it, his surgeon had to do it with Garrett laying on his side. It had become apparent that gravity wasn't Garrett's friend. When he was on his back, he would desat. As long as he was on his belly he did a lot better.

Garrett's heart function was getting progressively worse. When he was 5 months old, he had his second open heart surgery. At that point, his surgeon found the problem with his breathing. His pulmonary artery, and aorta actually wrapped around his trachea. Anytime Garrett would get upset, be in pain, become agitated, his blood pressure would rise, and those vessels would enlarge and compress his airway.

During surgery, his single ventricle was made into two, his ASD was closed, his pulmonary artery was dissected and made smaller, and his aorta was re-routed and "tacked up" so it was away from his airway.

When we got to see him after surgery, he looked PINK for the very first time.

He was eventually moved to a step down area, then to a regular room. He stayed another month on the cardiac floor of the hospital before he was able to go home. However... Garrett still had two large hernias that had just been repaired. This wasn't a problem, and everything looked great with them until all of the discharge papers were signed. All of a sudden Garrett was sick again. His hernia had come back, and had his intestines blocked. Off to emergency surgery he went. Again.

Then.... His trach was removed, but he still has his G-tube for all of his feedings.

He stayed 189 consecutive days in the hospital. He was home for a couple of months before he was readmitted to the hospital because the other hernia was back. It wasn't an emergency this time, but chances weren't going to be taken. It was repaired immediately.

Garrett spent 5 months at home with no major problems of any sort. Except, he wasn't growing. In March of 2012 he was admitted once again for growth problems. Genetic testing was ordered, and growth hormone testing was ordered. It was discovered that not only does he not produce any growth hormone, but he also has DiGeorge Syndrome. It's also known as 22q.11.2 deletion syndrome. He is missing 30 genes from the 22nd chromosome. Every problem that Garrett has had is caused by this syndrome.

Garrett is currently in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy every Tuesday in Jackson, Ms, about 100 miles from home. Mom and Dad are in the process of trying to convert a room in the house into a therapy gym for Garrett so he can have daily therapy like he receives in Jackson each week.

Garrett and his family have been contacted by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. They have the leading and largest 22q center in the world. There are over 18 specialist that would like to evaluate and treat Garrett.

Traveling to far off places for doctors appointments, tests, therapies, and potentially more surgeries will be a life long ordeal for Garrett and his family. He has made so much progress in the last few months.

Garrett is currently almost 19 months old. He has been crawling for about 2 weeks, and has begun to pull up on furniture. He is still very sensory sensitive, he doesn't eat well (99% g-tube fed), and he is still extremely tiny, despite receiving growth hormone shots every night. He is a very happy baby. He is about 14-15lbs, and looks like a typical 6-8 month old baby. He is cognitively and physically delayed, but he is making progress.
This childs medical bills are astronomical.  They have now hit the FOUR MILLION dollar mark.  While the family's medical insurance does cover the vast majority of it, there are still 12-15 appointments per month which require $40.00 co pays on each of them.  Garrett's medications are $50.00 each and he is on several of those per month as well.  We all know how expensive gas is per week, and currently it's costing this family an additional $300.00 per month in fuel to take Garrett to all of his appointments.  Not to mention the time they miss from work.  Garrett's family is having to spend more the $1000.00 per month JUST to cover all of the stuff that isn't covered by insurance. 
Once they have official date to travel to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, they will need to book flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.  It's our hope that everyone can give a few dollars to help with this expense.  Garrett needs so badly to be evaluated and treated by the specialists at CHoP.  He has been through so much in his little life.  He deserves a chance to have the best quality of life possible.  If you can, please spare a few dollars and spead the word about this child.  We all know times are hard financially, for everyone, right now, but pray about it.  If you are lead to give, then give.  Jesus Christ has saved this child, and shown us miracle upon miracle.  We know that Garrett will eventually thrive.  He is such a little blessing.  Each of you are blessings as well.  Please continue to keep Garrett and his family in your prayers.  If you see them around, hug their necks, and let them know you have been thinking about them.  His Mom and Dad would LOVE to share with you the story of what God has done for their child. 
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