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This fundraiser ended on 02/01/12

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This is the Victoria's Voice Fund. All the proceeds will go to related medical expenses not covered by insurance, and travel expenses.

On September 4, 2009, Victoria Ava Force came into this world via emergency C-section 3 months premature, weighing only 1 pound and 9 ounces. She was only minutes old when she was intubated and put on a ventilator to keep her alive. For those of you who may not know, intubation is the placement of a flexible plastic or rubber tube into the trachea (windpipe) to maintain an open airway. Victoria’s lungs and little body were severely underdeveloped due to being born so early, her parents Jessica and John had some very difficult decisions to make in the upcoming months. The first major obstacle was to stick it out as long as possible through the intubation and hope that steroids would help to develop her lungs. After three months of intubation, the Force’s were finally able to hold their daughter for the very first time, their joy was short lived after the ENT doctor took her to the operating room and discovered Victoria had subglottic stenosis (narrowing of the airway). He recommended a tracheotomy surgery. A tracheotomy surgery consists of making an incision in the neck and opening a direct airway through an incision in the trachea, a tracheostomy tube is then inserted into the incision which allowed Victoria to breathe without the use of her nose or mouth through the use of a ventilator. A few weeks after her surgery, Victoria was given a bottle for the first time, she would try to eat but since she was still on a ventilator, her lungs were working too hard to drink from the bottle which started to put strain on her little heart. Due to all these issues Victoria remained in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) until she "graduated" to the PICU at 5 months old. In order to ensure the proper care of her daughter, Jessica moved into the hospital to be with Victoria. It was then time for Victoria to have her second surgery which was to have a gastric tube inserted in her belly (A gastric feeding tube (G-tube or "button") is a tube inserted through a small incision in the abdomen into the stomach and is used for long-term nutrition). After 6 long grueling months and a lot of training on how to take care of all of their daughter's medical needs, Jessica and John were finally able to bring their little baby girl home from the hospital. Being home was bittersweet because only 2 days later Victoria was back in the hospital with an infection called Pseudomonas. Finally after spending another month in the PICU Victoria was finally discharged from the hospital on April 1, 2010 and this time for good. Although she was fit to go home, Victoria was in a very fragile state. Her vent settings were still significantly high and she could only tolerate being disconnected for a short period of time. Periodically throughout the day she would have to be disconnected from the vent for only seconds at a time to suction and clean her trach. Becoming a mother for the first time is hard as it is but Jessica spent her days literally keeping Victoria alive and catering to all of her special needs while John was hard at work trying to make ends meet. Thankfully, they had a nightly nurse so Jessica could try and get some sleep in order to be on the ball for the intense care that lie ahead of her the next day. Even though a nurse took care of Victoria through the night it was almost impossible for her parents to sleep peacefully without making sure that when the vent alarms went off, the nurse was giving Victoria the proper care she required. As the months went by, Victoria was given physical, occupational and combined feeding/speech therapy to help her catch up to her age group and help her to continue to develop correctly. She began to grow stronger and healthier, her ventilator settings started to come down every month and so did the amount of time she had to be connected to her feeding machine. In August of 2011, Victoria was taken off her ventilator and has not looked back! After being off the ventilator for a few months, her parents decided it was time to head back to the hospital for a bronchoscopy , this would tell them the condition of her airway so they could start discussing decanulation (removing the trach tube from her neck). They had VERY high hopes and certainly were not prepared for what happened next. The ENT doctor told them that Victoria had a pinhole for an airway and was going to need Laryngotracheal Reconstruction surgery (surgery to widen the wind pipe). He continued to explain that since this surgery could affect Victoria’s breathing and speech for the rest of her life they should go to the best doctor in that field, the best was in Cincinnati Ohio. Things seemed like they were going so well and now they would have to go back into the hospital hundreds of miles away from home for a serious surgery. Jessica and John were devastated. After extensive research they found the doctor they were referred to truly is the best but the best would come at a very high price. Their insurance does not cover certain medical expenses, traveling costs and lodging expenses. As you can see, the past two years have been quite the day to day struggle for the Force’s, they did not get to experience all that new parents take for granted like being able to hold your newborn, walking your baby around the house from room to room, bottle feeding your baby, waking up in the middle of the night because the baby is simply crying, not because her vent alarm is going off, hearing your baby say Mama or Dada for the first time, and much more. All they have wanted from day one was a normal life for Victoria, and now she has that chance. Despite all she has been through Victoria is a sweet, VERY happy little girl with an adorable personality. Jessica and John want nothing more than to see their daughter live a normal life and will do anything to give her that chance. Without this surgery Victoria may never be able to breathe properly or speak correctly, the Force family is asking for any type of donation to help cover medical expenses not covered by insurance and traveling expenses. Any dollar amount is appreciated. Please donate today and help give Victoria her voice. Thank you in advance and for reading Victoria’s story!
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