William Elijah Lyon, who goes by the name of Liam, was born on February 18, 2011. Shortly after birth, it became clear that Liam was sick... and before long he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Fatal if left untreated, hypoplastic left heart syndrome occurs when parts of the left side of the heart do not develop completely. After several surgeries to try to repair his heart, it was finally time to give Liam a heart transplant, thanks to the generous and painful choice of another family. But his fight has not ended there.
Liam struggles daily for his life. Minor childhood illnesses become major setbacks. A cold can mean serious issues for a child who has undergone so many ups and downs. And then there are other problems. Fluid retention, trouble with his veins responding appropriately, and several trips in and out of many prominent hospitals have been Liam's whole life. The cost of supporting and caring for Liam and his family during this time have added up quickly, and without the help of government aid, family and generous strangers, families like Liam's have no way to make ends meet during such trying times.
Lately, there has been discord on Liam's Facebook page as people have voiced their opinion that Liam's parents are wasting tax money to support his life, since the outcome sometimes seems so bleak. If you had to pause after reading that, you are not alone. His family reads each comment left on his page and battles daily odds that are not in their favor. They were given the gift of another person's heart and continue to struggle to make that gift the most worthwhile thing a person could ever have.
How does anyone decide what lives are and are not worth fighting for? How can we say what each new moment will bring? If we knew the outcome of everything we have coming in our lives, what choices would we make now? There are people whose children are never born; babies lost before their first breath on this planet. There are children who are born healthy and happy, to a family that has everything, and their lives are stolen in a freak accident or twist of fate. There are children like Liam, who get aid from the government to survive, and give it all they have just to open their eyes in the morning. If you are reading this, if you are awake and alive and breathing on your own, if your heart is beating without assistance and it is the one you were born with, you are luckier than Liam.
One less person on government aid is not going to alleviate a burden for the country. One less child breathing in air on the state's dollar is not going to fix the economy. Why are people angry at a child's parents for fighting to keep him alive? Why do people hurt these parents by lashing out at them and telling them that their child is wasting money by fighting for his life?
These parents have seen things nobody wants to see. Their son has had his chest opened and closed more times than most of us can imagine in only a year of life. He has had tubes running in and out of every part of him, and new holes surgically created to keep these tubes in place. His face and body have swelled beyond recognition. They have had to sit at his bedside, not touching him or holding him for fear of hurting him, yet aching to reach out and comfort their baby. They have missed hours, days, and months of their older daughter's life that can never be relived or replaced and struggled with knowing that they could only be in one place at any given time... and then made the difficult decision of feeling like they had let the other child down.
Money is a hot commodity. There are too many people who go without it for anyone to be comfortable with misplaced spending. But a life is not a frivolous expense. Each breath a baby is able to take should not be measured in pennies but in the value of the human experience. No one person is better than another- we hear this in grammar school, but so quickly we forget that "there but for the grace of God go I." It could be us, it could be our baby, it could be a baby in our family; why should the fact that this child belongs to a stranger have any merit when discussing his value as a human being? For every person that was born without medical complications, for every time a child was placed in your arms after they were born and you brought them home and continued with your day to day life, there is another alternative that lingers in the darkness for some families.
Liam is a baby. There is a reason that babies have parents. Babies cannot care for themselves, they cannot make life-altering decisions, they cannot be responsible for their own fate, they cannot make choices that impact their lives. Parents are meant to do this for them. And any parent knows that once that child comes into your life, you are transformed. You would do anything, drop anything, sacrifice anything for them. You should be able to do this without feeling guilt. Parents should be supported in fighting for their babies.
In a world where we pay an actor millions of dollars to amuse us for two hours at a time, how can we say that this child's year of life is not worth the price? Can you place a value on the people struggling from disease, illness, poverty, even a bad day, who see that this baby continues to fight for the life that they were blessed to have, and for a moment, feel fortunate? Can you place a number value on the head of your own child, yourself, or anyone around you? Are you comfortable being asked to set a cap on the life of anyone you know?
And here is the REAL question... should you be comfortable doing so? Has our society really gone so far backward from dignity, human kindness, love, and giving to be able to say to a parent that they should stop fighting alongside their child for his precious life?
We don't think so. We have seen it from you, our Frikes. We know it is out there. This is why we have chosen to, and will staunchly continue to, fight for Liam's rights and help his family in any way possible. Without having to live it ourselves, we understand that there are enormous financial burdens, lack of support and empathy, and hours of worry that cannot be abated for the families of these babies. It is without hesitation that we have created a Liam Lyon line of cause jewelry, with proceeds to benefit his family. This is something we stand behind, because we know that this family deserves the love and support. It is about a lot more than money, and although the proceeds are for a very important cause, the love we show someone when we accept that their child's life has value cannot be bought or sold.
If you cannot financially support Liam Lyon and his family, we understand. But please emotionally support them. Comments left on Liam's Facebook or on this blog will be read by people who know and love Liam and his family, and sharing this blog on your own page, or linking to it from your own blog, may attract the attention of those who can make a difference.
If you are able to support Liam and wish to do so, you can donate directly via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please visit the links below to view the jewelry created to benefit this sweet boy and his loving family: