Lamon is eight years old, but he’s gone through a lifetime worth of challenges. When he was born in March 2009 at 27 weeks, he weighed one pound, seven ounces. To complicate matters further, shortly after birth he developed a virus called necrotizing enterocolitis, which killed most of his intestines. A surgery to remove those intestines left him with just 28 centimeters of healthy bowel.
As a child with Short Bowel Syndrome, Lamon had to receive all of his nutrition via Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) with his central line. However, the central line and IV can cause additional risks to infections, or even organ damage, so Lamon was evaluated as a transplant candidate twice before he turned five years old. Each time, he was denied.
After his seventh birthday, Lamon’s parents Bryan and Aimee wanted to have him re-evaluated, except this time they decided to come to Omaha, six hours from their home in Illinois, to Nebraska Medicine and Dr. David Mercer.
Dr. Mercer’s team thought intestinal surgery was a better choice at this time, so before heading back home, Lamon was scheduled to have his bowel lengthened in November 2016.
When they returned to Omaha, the surgery was successful – Lamon now had 123 centimeters of bowel.
During his three-week recovery at the hospital, his parents stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. “Everything about the House was an incredible blessing for us,” noted Bryan. “Having a safe, comfortable, quiet place where we could go helped us to be able to recharge and be able to focus on taking care of our son.”
Lamon’s family loved dinner time at the House. “We are extremely grateful for all of the groups who volunteered their time and resources to help us out. Having someone cook for us was awesome, because it was one less thing to worry about.” Having a child in the hospital over a holiday like Thanksgiving can be a real challenge, but the community volunteers who provided a full Thanksgiving dinner for the House made it a little bit easier.
After his recovery in the hospital, Lamon was discharged and the three of them were able to spend time together in the House, where they bonded with the other families.
Bryan says this support system was best exemplified during dinner time. “We appreciated the opportunity it created to get to know other people who were going through similar situations. We were able to meet new friends, celebrate each other’s medical victories, and encourage each other during the tough times and medical setbacks. This was also the time that Lamon looked forward to every day when he stayed at the house with us, because he could always count on other kids being there to eat dinner with, and then play together in the playroom.”
He says it was great having so many kind-hearted staff members and volunteers around, too. “Everyone there was warm and welcoming and made sure to check in on Lamon’s progress anytime they saw us.”
Lamon has recovered from the surgery and is doing well. He’s growing, attending public school, and playing with his friends like any other eight-year-old. His doctors in Omaha are slowly cutting back the amount of TPN he receives, and they’re all hoping he continues to progress. While Bryan says no more surgeries are planned, he adds: “we are grateful that RMHC in Omaha is there if we ever need them again!”
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