Paige and Jason Schram, parents of Owen, will participate in the HeartBeat 5000 on Saturday, June 23. They have named their team “Owen’s Orange Monkeys” after a toy their son received from his grandmother. The toy has distracted Owen and made him happy through some difficult times in his young life!
While pregnant with Owen, Paige Schram was referred to Children’s by Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s perinatal program after an ultrasound at 20 weeks showed Owen had a heart defect. Even before he was born, his parents Paige and Jason knew he had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS, an underdeveloped left side of his heart. Knowing that Owen would be born needing heart surgery and would die in a few days without treatment, a stunned Paige and Jason were able to meet Children’s cardiology team and understand the surgery and treatment plan prior to the birth of their son.
Paige had a C-section at Abbott, and Jason accompanied Owen through the tunnel to Children’s. Jason raced back and forth between Abbott, where Paige recovered, and Children’s where Owen was being cared for in the NICU before his open heart surgery on his third day, as his mom was discharged from Abbott. Owen was at Children’s for 46 days recovering from the surgery and complications before his first visit home.
His second of three necessary surgeries took place when Owen was 5 months old, a bit earlier than expected as his oxygen levels began to drop. His second recovery lasted 56 days. He will need his final surgery when he is 3 years old. Owen’s surgeries are re-routing his circulation to the right side of his heart and need to be spaced out to accommodate his growth and tolerance of the surgeries.
During his first winter, Owen didn’t go to the grocery store with his mom or out to the playground with his dad. He stayed home and has been lucky to stay healthy – free of colds, ear infections and other illnesses. But his parents look forward to when he joins other children who go to school, play groups, and sleep in their beds at home, even though they love Children’s!
Later this month, Paige and Jason will give back to the hospital. After reading about HeartBeat 5000, our annual 5k walk/run benefiting kids’ heart health, on our Facebook page, Jason knew his family needed to create a team for the event. The family is excited to raise awareness and funds for our life-saving cardiology programs.
To support Owen’s Orange Monkeys, click here.