Submitted by Cascade Regional Blood Services
Baby Kent made his grand entrance into this world on January 9, 2018; much to the delight of his parents, Brad and Brea, and big brother. By all appearances, this sweet little brown-eyed bundle of joy was a healthy little guy that had already wiggled his way into the hearts of family and friends, and was ready to make his mark on the world. Although Kent was born with Congenital Heart Defect (CHD), a rare heart defect where one ventricle did not form; Double Inlet Left Ventricle, the prognosis was encouraging. At 20 weeks along, Brea and Brad were told that their unborn child had CHD and would ultimately undergo three open-heart surgeries.
A CHD means a child is born with an abnormally structured heart and/or large vessels. Such hearts may have incomplete or missing parts, may be put together the wrong way, may have holes between chamber partitions or may have narrow or leaky valves or narrow vessels. There are many types of CHD and varying degrees of impact.
Snow softly fluttered to the ground the night Kent came home from the hospital, creating a beautiful cozy blanket; peaceful, pure and perfect. Just like baby Kent.
Over the next four months, Kent was cuddled and kissed and learned to coo in return. He was the perfect blend of his mom and dad; but was definitely a mama’s boy. He was able to feel rain, go on hikes, and dip his toes in the creek. He was so close to rolling over the day before his first surgery. Brea and Brad were anxious to get this surgery behind them so they could just enjoy their little family and watch Kent blow past all the first year’s milestones.
The surgery was to take five hours; it took 15. Complications arose so Kent could not be removed from the bypass machine. He ended up suffering a massive stroke and passed away four days later. It was apropos that a rare storm raged outside the hospital walls the night this tiny innocent soul slipped away. The heavens rebelled. Lightening lit up the sky and thunder rumbled and crashed throughout the night.
In his mother’s words; “Kent was taken from his family too early. I’m still digesting why. Maybe it’s to teach the world about CHD (his rare heart condition). Maybe it’s because I won’t just sit back and let this horrific disease keep taking babies. Maybe it’s because if Kent was only meant to live four months, God knew I would give him the very best four months.
“I don’t know the reason. I am hopeful that there was one. But, as I’m hurting, I’m hopeful; hopeful that with the power of community and family surrounding us, we will overcome this huge and devastating loss. I’m hopeful we will eventually find a sense of normalcy in our heartbroken family. I’m thankful for the four months we had with Kent; even if every bit of me hurts living without him.
“I encourage everyone to go to our Facebook page, and start doing some acts of kindness, for Kent, in your area (and then post about your kind deed). We are having a Team Kent blood drive on July 15 from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Albertsons in Gig Harbor. We hope to see you! Please just show up and we will get you in!”
To schedule an appointment for the Team Kent blood drive, call 1-877-24-BLOOD or visit CRBS to request an appointment for this drive or to donate at another drive or at one of our three centers in Tacoma, Puyallup and Federal Way.
To learn more about CHD visit Children’s Heart Foundation.