Baby needs brain surgery

Rebecca and Jason Maher live on South Whidbey with their three children ages 5, 4, and one year. Aaron, who just celebrated his first birthday, was recently diagnosed with a rare brain disease known as Chiari Malformation I.

Chiari Malformation I is a rare brain disease where the cerebellum (the back part of the brain) outgrows the skull and grows into the spine.  Instead of sitting in its proper space the brain stem it is displaced downward, putting pressure on this part of the brain and spinal cord. This displacement also obstructs the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid.

The symptoms Aaron has been experiencing include headache, difficulty swallowing, pain and weakness, hoarseness, numbness, pins and needles, visual disturbances, balance problems, and at times, loss of consciousness. He is in constant pain, screaming and thrashing around all the time.

The risky, eight-hour surgery involves cutting open the back of the head all the way to the middle of the back. The back part of Aaron’s skull will be removed to make more room for the brain. At the same time the surgeons will also insert a tube through the top of Aaron’s skull to manage the spinal fluid flow to prevent cerebral fluid leakage which could cause death.

“Needless to say this has caused an enormous financial burden for the Maher family as well as inconceivable anxiety,” said Beverly Graham, who is involved in the effort to help the family. “Worry about food, fuel, and living costs are added to an already mountainous heap of emotional stress.”

Members of the Unity Church of South Whidbey are coordinating this effort and will schedule contributions such as house cleaning, babysitting the older Maher siblings, meal preparation, etc. Call 360-579-2617.

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