From the Mom of Ashton, our 2018 Cedar Valley Heart Ambassador
Fourteen years ago, around this time, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my boy. I was approaching the diabetes test and was too young to actually worry about Down Syndrome; I really was just ready to not be pregnant anymore and to meet my handsome feller.
On August 12, 2004, we welcomed an 8lb, 2.2oz baby boy into this world. Ashton was beautiful! But something wasn’t quite right. I didn’t sleep well that night, and sure enough the next morning his pediatric doctor called in their pediatric cardiologist. The next hours, days, months and years were hard. They were filled with medical terms, equipment, nursing visits, medications, doctor appointments, waiting, etc. One thought that stood out to me is that I had no idea what congenital heart disease (CHD) really was. It dawned on me later, I had worked with a girl whose son had issues, but other than that, nothing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would ever have a child whose heart didn’t function properly. And now the fact was, I did. And so, the fight against CHD began.
Ashton had quite a few different defects. Doctors commented on knowing each individual defect but none had seen them all together in one child. He has endured four open heart surgeries, four cardiac catherizations, one MRI and yearly echocardiograms. We were told we would be approaching a fifth open heart surgery at some point in his middle school to high school years.
We raise money because 10 years ago there was a new procedure in the beginning stages of an actual trial called the “Melody Procedure”. It would allow his already existing artificial valve to be replaced without going through his chest. This was huge to me. It was a goal - for the Melody procedure to be an option for Ashton at his next crossroads. It may not be the road we can take, but we will evaluate it when that time comes. This is a possibility and that’s because of all the hardworking volunteers, hospitals, donors that put in so much to raise money and awareness.
Ashton has an active normal life. He loves basketball and soccer. He enjoys gaming, PE and sports in general. He is monitored by the most amazing cardiologist and nurses and I am honored to call him my son. Ashton is our why. Raising awareness and money to end heart disease is our mission.