Unique auction raises funds for brain-damaged toddler

Was pulled out of pool without pulse

February 03, 2011 at 1:02 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Emerson Dean spent five months in the hospital after nearly drowning in a backyard pool.
Emerson Dean spent five months in the hospital after nearly drowning in a backyard pool.
A Luling couple has come up with a unique way to raise money to pay for medical treatments for their 2-year-old daughter, who nearly drowned in their backyard pool.

Britten and Barbara Dean say their lives were turned upside down last June after they discovered their young daughter, Emerson, in the backyard pool. Emerson was not breathing and had no pulse when she was pulled out of the water.

But by the grace of God, and the help of the medical staff at St. Charles Parish Hospital, Emerson was revived, Barbara says.

Emerson was then transferred to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where she spent five months fighting for her life. As a result of falling into the pool, Emerson suffered an anoxic brain injury that caused her to lose all mental and physical function.

“An anoxic brain injury is where there is no oxygen to the brain, which kills nuerons that never return and shrinks the brain,” Barbara said. “She could no longer walk, talk, crawl, roll over, sit, eat by mouth, cry, smile or move voluntarily,” Barbara said.

Emerson improved while at Children’s Hospital, thanks to the excellent care that her mother says was provided there,  and has been home for the last three months. Her mother said she can now cry, roll to her side unassisted, smile occasionally and is able to control her head for several minutes at a time. Emerson is also able to eat baby food and has a greater ability to track objects and people.

“Our family is very blessed to have so many people praying for her and us and we couldn’t thank everyone enough,” Barbara said. “My husband and I are determined to do whatever it takes to help Emerson have the best quality of life.”

After her daughter’s injury, Barbara joined a support group for families who have loved ones that have nearly drowned. During one of the group discussions, Barbara was made aware of the Napa Center, which offers intense therapy treatments to help people reach or maintain increased independence in their everyday lives.

The only problem is that the center, which is in Los Angeles, is not covered by the Deans’ insurance carrier.

“I was talking to a friend from my support group and they mentioned that I should try an auction to help raise money,” Barbara said. “I have a blog that I write about Emerson, so I decided to have a ‘blogction.”

After deciding to put on an online auction, Barbara was surprised by how many friends and businesses joined in the effort. The auction now has 118 items in categories such as babys and kids, jewelry, services and yummy goodies.

“We are so blessed,” Barbara said. “We have had a lot of interest from people who want to bid on the items, and we have gotten a lot of donations from a mixture of people and businesses.

“It’s been wonderful.”

Some of the many items available for bid include personalized binky holders, LSU wallets, mugs, fleur de lis merchandise, and even a Coach purse. The auction began on Feb. 1 and will last until Monday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. In order to participate, bidders just need a valid e-mail address.

Barbara said she will be happy with $1,000 because that is the amount needed to hold a spot for Emerson at the Napa Center. The actual cost of the three-week program is $3,400, and Barbara said it will be well worth it.

“The Napa Center offers all kinds of treatments that should really help Emerson,” Barbara said. “The therapies include treatments that will help Emerson with her body control and even hearing.”

Another unique treatment option is hippotherapy, which is therapeutic horse back riding. It is offered to anyone suffering from cognitive, physical and even emotional disabilities.

“Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength,” Barbara said. “For individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, the unique relationship formed with the horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem.”

Emerson is already visiting a hippotherapy clinic in LaPlace, but her parents are having to pay her own way since the treatments are not covered by insurance. While the main goal is sending Emerson to the Napa Center, any additional money would be used to pay for the child’s hippotherapy treatments.

“We have come a long way in the past three months and she is doing better than the doctors thought she would,” Barbara said. “But we still have a long way to go.”
To view and bid on items, visit www.pushforemersonblogction.blogspot.com.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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