Sometimes there are stories that make me feel ashamed that I am not doing more to help those around me, especially since I have been blessed to have a good job, good friends, and reasonably good health.
Then again, there are not many people in this world with a heart like that of four-year-old Jaidyn Barton of Neosho, Missouri, and that is a shame.
In five weeks, Jaidyn will undergo the fourth brain surgery in her young life, the first taking place when she was just 14 months old. Her life has been filled with great physical pain, but she puts others’ needs in front of her own, including the other children who are being treated at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Her mother, Kim Barton, tells the story.
“Yesterday, on the way to school her and another little girl that carpools with us were just talking about it being cold and that meaning Christmas was coming soon when Jaidyn pops off with how nice it would be to bring presents to the kids at her hospital when she goes for her surgery again.
“I did not at the time say anything to the girls that I had overheard them making these plans to do this, but instead decided that I wanted to help them achieve this goal.”
Kim talked with her friend, Amy Frieling from Neosho, whose son also suffers from the same health issue, craniosynostosis. I received a message from Amy last night.
It is amazing to think that Jaidyn would be so selfless when her own short life has been filled with so much pain. For a time, after the second brain surgery, it looked as if the worst was behind her, her mother says.
“In February of this year, she began having extremely horrible headaches. One trip to Kansas City and a cat scan revealed our worst fear- the cranio had returned with a vengeance.”
Since then, Jaidyn has undergone a surgery designed to prepare her for the one she faces November 12.
But that surgery is not what is uppermost in the little girl’s mind. “Jaidyn’s idea was to bring gifts to the kids at Children’s Mercy. The plan is if we can collect enough gifts then we will head up on November 11 and personally hand them out before her surgery on the 12th,” Kim Barton says.
She describes what Jaidyn is facing. “Her skull is thinning and pitting on the inside as if being chiseled away. She went again for a lumbar puncture that revealed her intracranial pressure was double what it’s supposed to be. She takes meds daily for the pressure as we await surgery. She just had surgery for tissue expanders to be placed in her scalp to stretch the skin and allow room for the new head she will get in November. As for now Jaidyn gets injections two times a week into either side of her head to fill these expanders, but through it all, she still is more worried about making other kids at the hospital happy with gifts.
“That’s more heart than most adults!”
Anyone who would like to help Jaidyn can send pre-wrapped toys with information on whether they are for boys or girls and the age range of the child (Children’s Mercy Hospital has children aged 0-17) to Kimberly Barton, 13553 Palm Road No. 35, Neosho MO 64850. Gifts can include anything from toys, coloring books, music players, books, “anything that would be enjoyed by children who are stuck in a hospital bed,” Mrs. Barton says.