UPDATE 9/28/2017: Mike Philizaire succumbed to complications from his heart condition on Sunday, September 24th, 2017. Mike spent almost five months in our care and was happy, affectionate with his nannies, and deeply, deeply loved. We are comforted that he is now with Abba Father, healthy and whole.
We hesitated when we saw Mike languishing in a local Hospital in Haiti. It was scary. Being a small organization with limited resources, how could we take care of a child with Down Syndrome? Our medical director also suspected there may be more serious issues at play, including a heart condition. After several echocardiograms, we received a diagnosis of Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), a combination of four heart defects. Rare and very serious, these defects result in oxygen-poor blood, leading to cyanosis, a bluish tint to the skin and lips. Most children with repaired hearts live a full life well into adulthood. Left untreated, they rarely live to six. Early surgery, excellent care, and financial resources are critical. That is daunting. Especially in Haiti.
We had a decision to make. Let him sit alone in some crib in the corner of a hospital until he dies? (He had already been at the hospital, all alone, for over a year.) Or do we bring him home to Angel House to let him be well-cared for and loved wholeheartedly, no matter what happens? We can’t just be in it for the wins. We are here to participate in the hard things, too. And if not us, then who? So after lots of prayer and meetings, we decided to take the leap of faith and bring Mike home.
Mike has a sweet spirit, sucks his thumb and is already adored by all. Christine, his nanny, gets lots of smiles and eye contact. Mike laughs and makes a few initial stage verbal sounds, but has no words yet. His heart defect causes him to tire easily so he sleeps quite a bit. Most of the time he sits almost independently, but we are not encouraging more musculoskeletal development because of the strain on his heart. Mike’s breathing can be labored and he is often wheezy. He is prescribed Propanalol, a medication that decreases the workload of the heart.
We are watching Mike closely. Specifically, our staff has been trained to expect and respond to “tet spells”. TOF can cause a sudden drop in oxygen levels in response to exertion from simple things like crying or having a bowel movement. Mike could become blue, have a hard time breathing or pass out. Although scary, an oxygen tank has been brought to Angel House to assist with this and that has helped. Our medical team is working on securing a medical visa and finding a hospital, possibly in the Cayman islands, that can perform the needed surgery.
The nannies have all been so loving and brave. A child perishing in our care is one of our biggest fears, as anyone could imagine. We have committed to Mike and are praying that many of you feel the same way. We are doing everything we possibly can for him. But we need you to fight with us for the best possible outcome for Mike.
WAYS you can help SUPPORT MIKE
- Please pray for the perfect family to fall in love with Mike.
- Donate to help with medical expenses (write "Mike" in the comments section). We face significant expenses like surgery, transport, visas, medications, oxygen, etc.
- Pray for courage and tenacity; that we can pour into Mike wholeheartedly and without fear.
- Pray for favor. We need an expedited Visa and the right medical doors to open.
- Sponsor Mike! Typically we require 10 sponsors for a healthy child. Mike will need at least double that. We will send you regular updates on his care. Sign up here.