Heart of a Tiger – Bravelets

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Heart of a Tiger

Posted on September 03 2015

Heart of a Tiger
In January, 2015, my son, Noah, became critically ill. What doctors initially though was a bad case of the flu, ended up being septic shock from a massive staph infection. He was life-flighted from our local emergency room directly to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, NC.

Noah was aggressively treated with IV antibiotics, but as the days passed, it was clear his body was slowly losing the battle against sepsis. Tests revealed the infection had lodged itself on his aortic valve. With every heart beat, infected blood pumped through his body, constantly circulating and spreading like a poison.

Born with a congenital heart defect known as a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), Noah's future always included surgical replacement of that damaged valve. But, we thought it would be much later in life - possibly not until middle age. Right now, he was just two months shy of his 16th birthday, and doctors were not overly optimistic. He needed immediate open-heart surgery to replace the defective, and now disease-riddled valve. Surgery on such a vital organ is always risky. Surgery on a vital organ in a body already full of infection is a gamble. But, it was a gamble we had to take. It was his only hope of survival.

Doctors later told us that, on the night he arrived in the PICU, he had a 50/50 chance of survival. They have never revealed his odds for successfully surviving that surgery. But, whatever they were, he beat them!

Noah spent six weeks in the hospital. He returned to school less than a month later. He caught up with his classmates, made straight A's and even returned to competitive tennis before the end of the 2014-2015 school year. He is amazing!

His own determination and the skill of the medical teams caring for him were only part of the story. Throughout his ordeal, our friends, families and co-workers gave us more love and support than we could ever have imagined. Our little community of Mt. Pleasant, NC rallied around their home-town boy. The high school posted banners and sent get-well cards. His band mates made bracelets that read "Pray for Noah," collected items we could use at the hospital and helped raise funds to put towards medical expenses. Coin jars popped up at restaurants and service stations in town. We were humbled, greatly helped and immensely comforted by our town.

Noah is well on his way to complete recovery, but will have one more operation by the end of the year. You can follow his complete story on his CaringBridge site at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/noahlinntaylor.

While we continue to need your help and support to help meet burgeoning health care costs, it's also time we started planning to give back to a community who showed us so much kindness.

We think Bravelets is a great way to do that! $10 from each bracelet goes to our campaign. This $10 will be equally divided between Noah's outstanding medical bills and Mt. Pleasant High School to help support extra-curricular activities such as band, drama, various clubs and non-revenue generating sports -- activities and events that help enrich the lives of our students, encourage them to follow their dreams and instill in them the confidence to be proud of who they are.
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