Images Captured by Phorever Photography
This is Dawson. A go-getter who is busy from the time he wakes up in the morning, until the time he goes to bed. He loves playing with trucks, trains and horses, and although he's been through so much in his young age, you would never know it by seeing him play.
Dawson's parents found out at 25 weeks of pregnancy that he would have heart problems. He was born with a coarctation (narrowing) of the aorta, and a hole in his heart. His parents thought he'd already been through enough, but while he was still recovering in the hospital from heart surgery, at the age of three weeks, his screening results came back positive for cystic fibrosis.
Today, Dawson takes up to 15 pills a day just to be able to digest his food, and while the hole in his heart may never close and he may require heart surgery in the future, his heart is doing well. With the medical advancements of cystic fibrosis patients, the median age of survival has recently been increased by 10 years, from 38 to 48 years of age. This gives his family hope that he will stay healthy long enough for a cure to be found.
The advice Dawson's parents give to other families is to always look for the small comforts in life—there will be signs of hope where you least expect them. They say that reaching out to others has been invaluable, and by seeking out other families facing the same struggles will help you get through the day-to-day challenges. Dawson and his family have found strength within each other, and hope that he will grow to be a happy and healthy young man who follows his dreams.
Story by Jag Nagra
Meet Denver, a brave young man who loves to play with cars and trucks, chase his dog around the house, and wrestle with his brother. Denver's parents found out 35 weeks into pregnancy, that he had a malformation of the brain called hemimegalencephaly. He was delivered by C-section 37 weeks into pregnancy, only one year after his older brother had undergone heart surgery and was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
Since one side of Denver's brain was developing abnormally, and was larger than the other half, a radical 8-hour brain surgery was performed to help control his seizures, and he was given a shunt to relieve the excess pressure inside his skull. Before his two surgeries, Denver was having up to 100 seizures a day. He is now on three anticonvulsant medications, but still having seizures.
Denver is surrounded by a tremendous amount of support from his siblings and family. His team of doctors has been amazing, and his aide is a godsend who he loves very much. Thanks to support groups online, his mom has met a number of other mothers in the same situation, and the support they give each other is amazing. Knowing that so many people from around the world are praying for him is uplifting to say the least.
While technically Denver only has half of his brain, he works hard to learn new things. He's learning how to sit and stand, learning sign language, and understands much of what is said to him. His parents hope that one day, he will be able to walk, talk, be semi-independent and live a seizure-free life. They hope he will be accepted by others for exactly who he is. Denver's family believes he's a miracle. Only 4 to 10 babies worldwide are born with his condition each year, and some of them don't survive infancy. With numbers like that, who could argue that he truly is a miracle?
Story by Jag Nagra