Two Moose Jaw families have united in determination to help their newest family member — little Ansel, due March 20, will need open-heart surgery in Edmonton immediately after his birth.
A fundraiser to help the couple, who also have a two-year-old, will be held at the Crushed Can on Saturday, February 18, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will include a dinner, raffle, and auction.
“Our baby, at 20 weeks, was diagnosed with a critical heart condition called transposition of the great arteries. It’s really rare,” explained expecting mother Joanna Ferris. “Without pretty much immediate heart surgery, within the first week, there’s a high likelihood the baby won’t survive.”
Ferris and her partner, Adam Warburton, went for the ultrasound that would tell them the sex of their baby in November — only to receive the devastating news that something was abnormal with the baby’s heart.
“It’s been hard for us. Definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through,” Ferris said. “It’s a lot, to have to (think about) your child’s mortality before they’re even born.”
The plan is for Ansel to be born by caesarean section at Jim Pattinson Hospital in Saskatoon on March 20. A surgical balloon will be inserted into his heart right away to hold his major vessels open.
A few days later, the newborn will be flown by air ambulance to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton — western Canada’s heart surgery centre.
“Her obstetrician reassured Joanna and Adam that this process, although difficult, has very good outcomes for the baby,” said Sherry Weston, Joanna’s mother. “They checked out his other organs and are happy with his growth thus far. … We are positive about the future and looking forward to this addition to our family.”
Weston and Jennifer Warburton, Adam’s mother, have formed a grandmother team to organize the fundraiser and take some strain off Joanna and Adam. They will also take over the care of two-year-old Weston in Saskatoon, then Edmonton.
“With that news (of the heart complications), there have been appointments. They've had to go to Saskatoon every two weeks, they have to go to Regina for specialist appointments. They live here in Moose Jaw, so that travel in itself is expensive,” said Jenn Warburton.
With a C-section followed by an air ambulance trip, followed by what will likely be at least a month’s stay in Edmonton while the baby recovers, Adam and Joanna are feeling anxious, Warburton said.
“Adam and Jo will both be out of work, so we’re just trying to make it a loss less stressful for them, because they still have to pay bills.”
Tickets to the Crushed Can fundraiser are $20 each, and can/bottle donations are also being accepted.
“The community has been wonderful so far,” Weston said. “People we don’t even know are donating. Our work family at Providence Place have also been very wonderful and supportive.”
Text Sherry Weston at 306-313-6782 or Jennifer Warburton at 306-313-0420 to buy a ticket or arrange a recycling drop-off.