This is the look of love between a mother and her child. This is the look that doctors told Callie she would never see.
Like so many parents of medically complex children, 20-year-olds Callie and her husband Blake have come to expect the word “can’t”. Their baby, Kannon, has a rare genetic condition caused by the deletion of the 8q21.12 and 8q21.13 chromosomes. And this is what his life looks like many days.
Some days, however, it looks like this. Kannon relies on a ventilator (a.k.a. life support) and a g-tube 24/7, but in so many ways he is just like any other one-year-old. The most essential part of this family is the one that doctors questioned the most: love.
Since Kannon was born without a corpus callosum (the band of nerves connecting the left and right hemispheres of the brain), it was predicted that he would never be able to express or understand love. Among his many medical complications, this must be the most heartbreaking to accept as a parent.
Now I’m no doctor, but this sure looks a lot like love to me.
Callie and Blake advocated fearlessly for their child since the first prenatal scan that hinted at Kannon’s complications. There was no question for this family; the love they felt for Kannon was immense from the very start. It was the love they would get in return, however, that was in question by some.
Kannon’s life has been primarily spent in a hospital, not at home. This fact has completely uprooted Callie and Blake’s lives. They are from a small town in Texas called Nacogdoches, but were forced to move to a suburb of Houston to be close to the specialized hospital care that Kannon needs to stay alive. Leaving their tight-knit community has been so hard on these kids, and is only compounded by having to watch their baby struggle.
In Kannon’s case, there really is no care plan. The goal is to make each and every day count, and make each one as comfortable, meaningful, and love-filled as possible. This becomes an immensely more difficult task when medical bills are piling up and your car craps out.
While Blake is working all day to provide what he can for his family, Callie is at home or at the hospital with her baby, keeping him as safe and happy as possible. This means that Callie and Kannon are home without a car, since their only functioning vehicle- a loan from a friend- is with Blake at work. If there’s an emergency with Kannon, Callie has to scramble to find transportation not just for her and her baby, but for all the equipment that Kannon needs to stay alive.
He relies on so many machines: a suction machine to breathe, a feeding pump, a 24/7 ventilator, and a heart rate monitor that all require charging. There is no time to scramble when life is this fragile.
Now, you know how Chive Charities likes to subvert expectations. Well, we want to help little Kannon do just that. This kid has been through more turmoil in his one year of life than most of us have in all our decades. We want him to be able to go as far as possible in life, but he’ll need reliable transportation to get there.
Well, thanks to our donors, Kannon will be safe and sound in a $24,700 Toyota Sienna van from Purple Ribbon Mobility! Taking just one worry away for this family will leave so much more room for love, the love that was never predicted to exist.
This is what we do at Chive Charities. We ease the day-to-day struggles for an underdog, for someone forgotten by larger organizations, for Kannon. By detracting the worry and adding the space for love, we are changing lives in a big way. And all it takes is a small monthly donation from you. You can help people like Kannon live lives that were said to be impossible, and it all starts by signing up HERE!