FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A nonprofit group that works to help communities raise funds for the families of transplant patients is making an impact in Northwest Arkansas.
These efforts have a deep meaning for one Fayetteville family, as their 5-month-old son Cam Medeiros, waits for a transplant that would save his life.
At their 20-week anatomy scan, Steven and Karissa Medeiros were told that their baby had a heart defect.
“Originally, the whole plan was that he would just have this minor surgery right after birth, and then hopefully that would fix his heart,” said Karissa.
When their son Cam was born, the family found out it was more serious than that.
“Doctors have told us from day one that he has anatomy that is not textbook,” Karissa said.
Now, Cam needs a life-saving heart transplant.
He has spent every day of his life in Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
At this point, the family says it’s a waiting game until a heart that’s a match for Cam becomes available.
“The main plan is just to make sure we’re healthy when a heart does become available,” Steven said.
The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is raising money in honor of patients like Cam to help cover transplant-related expenses.
According to COTA, transplant procedure costs are often more than $800,000, plus tens of thousands of dollars for transportation, lodging and medication expenses.
“It’s a lot to go through, especially with a 2-year-old at home and then the hospital being about three and a half hours away,” Steven said.
That’s why volunteers in Fayetteville are working to raise funds for COTA in honor of Cam through donations, events and shirt sales.
The Medeiros say they’re not alone as many other families will benefit from COTA’s efforts.
“You don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl, you just pray for a healthy baby,” Karissa said. “I always just thought that was something that people said until we kind of dipped our toes into this side of the world. There’s a lot of people at Arkansas Children’s, let alone just on the cardiac floor.”
For blog updates on Cam’s journey and information about upcoming events and donations, visit Cam’s COTA website.
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