ALTON — An upcoming bowling tournament is set to benefit an Alton family’s unborn baby who will require open heart surgery and an extended stay in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) upon his birth in the spring.
Sean Michael Donahue, the son of Sean and Kennedy Donahue, and younger sibling of Joseph Cloninger and Eleanor Donahue, of Alton, is due in March.
In November, during a routine ultrasound, doctors voiced concerns about his developing heart and sent the Donahues to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis for a series of tests.
It was determined that baby Sean’s heart is located on the right side of his body and that he has a congenital heart defect called double outlet right ventricle, meaning that his pulmonary artery and the aorta connect to his right ventricle, as well as a ventricular septal defect, which means he has a hole between the two ventricles of his heart.
Kennedy Donahue said she plans to deliver at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in St. Louis, after which the baby will be transferred immediately to Cardinal Glennon, where he will receive open heart surgery within his first week — the first of many over the next three years.
“Right now, his prognosis is really positive. We will be closely monitoring his heart with our team of doctors until he gets here, and continue to update everyone during the progress,” she said.
The couple have been keeping friends and family updated on baby Sean’s condition via a public Facebook group called “Baby Sean Michael.”
In December, the Donahues announced that baby Sean was gaining weight, but it was discovered that his aorta is smaller than it should be and it criss-crosses with his pulmonary artery.
“Because of the size of the aorta, they will give him medicine as soon as he’s born to help his heart handle all the pressure of his blood,” Kennedy Donahue said.
After surgery, baby Sean is facing at least a month in the NICU. He will need to be fed through a tube in the beginning.
At 3 months old, he will require a catheter procedure to see how his heart is functioning, and doctors will set the date for a second heart surgery, a Glenn procedure, somewhere between 4 and 6 months of age, followed by another month in the NICU. Between the ages of 2 and 3, he will need a third operation called a Fontan procedure.
“We have a long, bumpy road ahead of us, but we are very optimistic,” Kennedy Donahue said. “We are in amazing hands at Cardinal Glennon and couldn’t ask for better care.”
Baby Sean’s medical care will be costly, so friends have organized a benefit to help the family pay for medical expenses and other bills during this tough financial time.
There will be a doubles 9-pin tournament from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, at Bowl Haven Lanes in Alton. The cost is $15 per person and includes prizes for the top three teams, food and drink specials, a basket raffle, strike pot and music by Toni “Rock Your Socks Off” Daniel.
Anyone interested in participating in the tournament can contact Kennedy Donahue at (618) 210-7367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep up with baby Sean’s progress or to make a donation online, visit the family’s GoFundMe page at http://www.gofundme.com/hbpsz8.