On February 26th from 1-4PM Gymfinity is hosting a fund-raiser for the family of Kieran Jaymeson. Why? I had a well-meaning mom ask me that question and I responded “because I should.”
Kieran was born traumatically in 2009 about a month early. His mom, Rachelle, had Peripartum cardiomyopathy. In essence her heart was tired of beating so hard to supply her and the baby with oxygenated blood, so it slowed down to rest. Kieran went without oxygen for 15 minutes and was without vital signs for 10 minutes once he was born. Rachelle was lost too, for a moment but they brought her back.
She called Kieran’s dad, her husband EJ, at work and said she had an upset stomach. The doctors told EJ to go home and change clothes then return after they ran some tests. When he came back he was told his son was being med-flighted to the hospital and that Rachelle was barely alive. That very morning EJ was shopping online for motorcycle themed shirts for his soon to be born baby boy. All situations were normal, Rachelle was fine and Kieran was just a month away. Then the world turned upside down.
EJ was told Rachelle would need a new heart, new kidneys and a new liver, her prognosis of surviving all that was dim, even if she found donors. After a few months and thousands of tests they determined that her heart was back online and the other organs were returning to strength too. She was sent home after 4 months, but is unable to work and struggles every day to return to the very active life she once enjoyed.
There was no indicator that Rachelle was prone to PCM, it just happened. She is not a smoker, or heavy drinker, no risky behavior at all. In fact she was always trying to get EJ to eat more healthy. These two were just like us, and probably just like you too. So there was no explanation or cause. What happened could have happened to any of us.
Since then Kieran has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. He has suffered a few seizures but his progress has been notable. EJ and Rachelle have put all of their efforts to find the therapies that might work for Kieran with hope that one day their son will be able to do what other kids can do. Much of the therapy they found is not covered by insurance because it’s considered “experimental” and thus ineligible for coverage. They have sold a car, a TV and many household items to cover the costs. What would we do if it was us?
There is a great story that I share with my children. It’s called The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907–1977). It was published in 1969. It has evolved and changed over the years to many forms and perspectives but it’s about an older man who sees a person picking up star fish and throwing them back into the ocean. The thrower tells the man that the tide has gone out and the starfish will die if they don’t make it back into the water. The old man tells him that his quest is foolish because the beach is littered with starfish and he can’t possibly make a difference to them all. The thrower responds by throwing one more of the stranded starfish into the water, looks at the man and says “I made a difference to that one.”
She asked why is Gymfinity doing this fund-raiser for Kieran Jaymeson. Well, EJ is my brother and I am Kieran’s uncle. I flew out to be there for them when Kieran was born and Rachelle was “sick”. I saw my brother, the man of our house when I grew up, broken-hearted and on his knees. I saw my sister-in-law, comatose with pumps sticking out of everywhere and my new nephew in a cold cap and under an incubation light. That was his welcome to the world. Two days earlier the world was all right and the sun was shining on all of us. A new baby was on his way. The the tide went out. And maybe Gymfinity and I can’t make a difference to every kid with needs like Kieran’s but we can make a difference for this one.
Read more about Kieran at his website linked here and feel free to sign the guest book, tell them how you heard of Kieran’s story, make a donation. Come by Gymfinity on February 26th from 1-4PM, buy a ticket (or 5) let your kids play with a purpose, the purpose of making a difference for one little starfish. Join us, please.