Happy 1st birthday Aryn!
In Montgomery County, Maryland, Aryn celebrated his first birthday and is Casey Cares' 841st birthday this year!
Casey Cares knows that for a critically ill child, each birthday is a special milestone celebrating life. For the children in our programs, it not only marks another year, but it also demonstrates a great achievement. Casey Cares staff and volunteers work hard to send out each of our kids a special birthday package through our Birthday Blast program - we send over 1,000 a year! This simple act of kindness delivers joy and hope to our kids who are undergoing treatment.
The First 99 Days
Aryn was born prematurely, arriving "eight weeks early at 2.5 pounds," says his mother, Summer. and with tetralogy of Fallot, which means his heart has four heart congenital defects at the same time. Aryn spent his first 99 days of life in the hospital and received his first open heart surgery when he was four weeks old. Summer states, "he's had subsequent procedures and will have future heart surgeries."
Parents, caregivers, and guardians of critically ill children know that when a critical illness is diagnosed, an entirely new set of challenges is introduced, not only for the child but also for the family. The word "extra" now becomes a part of their vocabulary like never before while priorities are rearranged to increase support to their child. "Aryn has required a lot of extras - 3 months in the hospital, feeding tube, oxygen, CAT Scans, MRIs, multiple procedures, 9 doctors, 10 daily medications, etc. - and all of those extras take time and money. Mortgage, gas, and food are more important than fun," Summer continues.
Family Is Included Too at Casey Cares
Aryn joined Casey Cares in 2021. Aryn, Summer, and Brooklyn, Aryn's older sister, have enjoyed tickets to Awesome Con, saw the animals at the Maryland Zoo, attended Trolls Live!, and visited the performers at Flip Circus.
A child undergoing years-long treatments also impacts their siblings, parents and their community. That's why at Casey Cares, we focus on the entire family, not simply a sick child.
With the stress of hospital visits and treatments continually present, "Casey Cares has allowed us to take a break from the hospital and spend some fun time with Brooklyn," Summer states, "Brooklyn loved going to see the dinos at Jurassic Quest!"
She adds, "Most of our Casey Cares activities haven’t included Aryn due to health risks but we finally got to take him out to Great Country Farms in Virginia where he slept through his first pig race.”
Challenges and Making Every Day Count
Summer recently spoke at Casey Cares' 19th Annual Golf Tournament and commented that Casey Cares has been great at making "everything normal." She says, "it's hard to put money towards something fun and it's really nice that Casey Cares is able to provide an enjoyable outing to no cost for us."
“Having a kid with medical challenges is well… challenging. Everything is so intense and expensive as a parent of a critically ill child,” Summer expresses, “Casey Cares provides the support that lets our family do fun things together. It’s also because of donor support that families and kids get to share moments of fun when they can forget for a moment about the stress that they are facing."
Summer concludes, "Casey Cares is awesome! Our middle child Breelyn died of SIDS in 2016. We understand more than most, the importance of making the most of each day. Casey Cares helps us make some fantastic memories!"
You can support critically ill children like Aryn this holiday season, click here.