The Edmond Sun

Local News

February 9, 2013

Edmond's Weeden aids Children's Hospital

Ex-Santa Fe star, OSU Cowboy keynotes OC’s Athletic Hall of Fame induction

EDMOND — As 6-year-old Gavin Kuykendall hammed it up with his pal Brandon Weeden Friday morning at Oklahoma Christian University, you’d never know he had a potentially life-threatening illness.

Gavin first challenged the odds before he was born when he was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a rare congenital heart disease where the left side of the heart doesn’t develop completely and is unable to send enough blood to the body.

Before his birth, Adam and Faith Kuykendall, his parents, were given three options regarding their son: A heart transplant, three-stage cardiac surgery or return home with hospice.

Adam and Faith chose to do whatever it would take to give their son a chance at life and decided to proceed with the three-stage heart surgery.

On Oct. 13, 2006, Gavin was born at OU Medical Center. At five days old, he successfully underwent his first heart surgery at The Children’s Hospital. Once he could breathe on his own, the new family of three was homebound with an oxygen tank and pulse ox, a type of monitor, in tow.

Gavin underwent the second of three heart surgeries just four months after his birth. His parents were told this would be the easiest of the procedures. Little did they know it would become the hardest after a host of complications.

A fighter in every way, Gavin’s health improved and in 2009 it was time for his third and final surgery. Faith said the family had to sell their home before the surgery to keep up with medical bills.

“But we always said from day one we would do whatever we could to get the best care for him,” she said.   

The surgeon who performed Gavin’s prior procedures had relocated to California. Not wanting to place Gavin’s life into the hands of a surgeon unfamiliar with their son’s history, the family traveled more than 1,300 miles to San Diego. In spite of the logistical hardship, Gavin’s final procedure was a success and he quickly progressed.

One year after surgery, due to a low heart rate, Gavin’s physicians recommended that a pacemaker be inserted. That meant another procedure, another trip to California and additional time away from home.

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