Our friend and client, Shaun, was injured in an explosion at a steel foundry in Lima. He sustained burns from head to toe and later developed cellulitis in his foot and neuropathy in his lower extremities. His injuries prevented him from returning to that work.
Despite being fined by OSHA and cited for safety violations, Shaun’s employer fought him at every turn for three years. During that time, Shaun and his wife, Theo, may have gotten discouraged on occasion, but they have always found joy in Heaven.
Heaven is their daughter, and she’s a spitfire who accompanied her daddy to his hearings at the Industrial Commission. I asked Shaun to tell you a bit about his special young lady:
“Heaven was born prematurely with truncus arteriosis (a heart condition where a valve doesn’t grow) and tracheobronchomalacia (where some parts of her lungs didn’t develop, causing floppiness in her airway). She has a trach tube and is on a ventilator until her growth catches up and her body adjusts to normal breathing. She also has a feeding tube (aka a nasogastric or “ng” tube) because she can’t handle the meds. It’s also to feed her and help her put on weight. She was also born with abnormal ribs and a curved spine with a couple vertebra that didn’t grow all the way. She will be having surgery to insert a rod with two claws to fix her spine and ribs and open-heart surgery to replace a conduit they had to install for her heart to function properly with the meds.
“As she grows, when the conduit gets too small, it must be replaced as it’s adjusted to her body, age, weight, and size. This will happen every few years till she stops growing.
“Other than those things, she is a normal 3-year-old girl who loves life and enjoys just waking up every day. I’ve never seen anyone so happy just to be alive in my life. She is very smart and ahead of her time. She’s like Tinkerbell, always trying to learn something new. She’s learning to talk through trachea (which is hard to learn) and gaining weight, up to almost 29 pounds! She also loves to tumble and be acrobatic and loves to play and drive her car she just got for her 3rd birthday. I learn and live every day through her and her joy just to be alive."
God blesses us in ways we’d never ask or expect. This little slice of Heaven is a blessing to her mom and dad … and the rest of us as well. I’m honored to introduce her to you.