Bronco was immediately flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where he spent a few days in CICU puzzling the Sibley Heart Group’s cardiologists. Within 6 months, we were told that our only solution to correct his condition would be a heart transplant. At the time, he was so small, and we were so unprepared, our situation seemed very dim.Over the next couple of years, with regular testing, and doctor visits, Bronco grew and developed rather normally. We were at Egleston for a heart catherization in 2008, when Bronco woke up a little early during sedation. We remember so clearly, the doctor coming to us saying, “Now…why are we doing this transplant?” We responded with a “that’s why we’re here…so you can tell us!” Within a few days they removed him from the transplant list and decided that we would wait and see how things progressed.
Bronco’s next few years were pretty uneventful. He started first grade in the fall of 2012. Pretty quickly into this school year, he was having some difficulty physically, and we just didn’t realize how much. On October 5th, Scott was called by the school to come quick. Bronco had an episode and they had called the paramedics for him. He was pale, sweaty, and not talking. Joanna met Scott and Bronco at Egleston and that day, our journey took a turn…again.
Bronco’s heart conditions are coronary fistulas, a mytro-valve prolapse, single coronary and pulmonary stenosis. At this point in his life, his pulmonary artery had become more and more compromised, and there was no other solution than heart transplant. He was placed on the transplant list on November 9th of 2012 for the second time.On February 4th of 2015, Bronco was hospitalized again. At this point, we knew we would be coming home one of two ways, with a new heart, or tragically without Bronco. This time in, our stay was so much more impactive than before. Watching other parents lose their children waiting for their much needed miracle was not something we were prepared for. We had one transplant fall through on February 27th but then our miracle came.
On April 26th, the doctors came into our room to tell us that we had a heart. Over many hours of delays, the morning of the 27th, Bronco was wheeled back to surgery and his new journey began. He received his heart. It worked immediately. We were and are so grateful every day for the sweetest gift another family chose to give our son.
In September of 2015, Bronco was diagnosed with PTLD, Post Transplant Proliferative Disease. It is a form of Lymphoma that is a result from the anti-rejection medications he takes daily to maintain his new organ. Once again, the amazing staff at Egleston stepped up with proactive treatment immediately. He received Chemo treatments from October 2015 to February of 2016, and was declared in remission on February 18th, 2016.
Today, Bronco is relatively normal in most ways. He has had to learn some physical activities anew, but he is so happy to be able to live as a normal child, to run, to jump, to swim, to play. He expresses to us his gratitude and we feel he has a complete understanding of the blessing he received.
We all see the amazing things in our children, but we have to say, that Bronco is definitely one of a kind. He has an infectious love about him. He remembers everyone’s names. He always greets people and when leaving them, reminds them all to “come see him sometime”. We are constantly astounded by his sweet attitude and his excitement for this transplant to have happened.
We want the world to know how important it is to be a donor, to allow our children to be donors. The statistics are astounding, but so many children die each day waiting for an organ. It is a gift that continues giving. It is our honor to help raise awareness and financial support for this cause. It is our goal to improve upon each child’s journey through this process. Please join us, you won’t be disappointed.
The Reese Family’s
Bronco’s Benevolent Foundation