One four-year-old Yukon boy defies all odds by just living his life every day.
Wyatt Mighton was born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), which is a birth defect of the diaphragm.
“Basically he was born missing 80 percent of his diaphragm,” Wyatt’s mom Jen said. “All his intestines grew up in his chest and crushed his lungs and heart. He only has a half of a lung and a fourth of a lung.”
Wyatt was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a heart and lung bypass machine for infants, within an hour or two of being born because he was dying. He lived on that for a week or so, Jen said, but he was bleeding out so he went through anywhere from 13 to 15 units of blood.
“He survived all his with some brain damage—autism, but also an immune deficiency syndrome,” Jen said.
Due to Wyatt’s immune deficiency, he has to get intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) done twice a month with 20 milligrams.
“It takes roughly about 100 hours just to make 10 milligrams and I believe it is takes 5,000 people donating to make one vial so it’s extremely expensive. Especially here in the U.S., it can run up to $3,000 a gram. Usually it’s about $10,000 to $20,000 a month,” Jen said.
Jen is hosting Blood Drive for Wyatt from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 3 at Auto F X, 400 E. Main St.
Anyone and everyone are invited to come donate. The event will include the blood bus, as well as University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University T-shirts for donors. Los Banditos Taco Truck will also be at the event.
“Basically what we’re doing is, we’re trying to get people to come out and donate because Wyatt has had up to 20 surgeries and he has a lot more coming and whenever somebody donates, especially in his name, he gets a credit so whenever he goes for more surgeries and he gets more blood, it gives him a little bit of a discount. Also it helps tons of other kids like him.”
When someone donates plasma, they take immunoglobulins out of that person’s blood. That’s what makes up the IVIG.
“Most people don’t know about immunoglobulins. They know about plasma, platelets, whole blood, but they don’t realize immunoglobulins are something you donate too,” Jen said.
Jen said she’s hoping more knowledge will come out of the blood drive.
“To get people to realize that it’s not just blood that these kids need,” she added. “Without [immunoglobulins] Wyatt couldn’t go to the store. If he didn’t have IVIG, going to Walmart really would be a life or death situation because of the germs. This gives him life.
“I want people to see that… well, when you think of giving you blood you think ‘oh for somebody’s car accident,’ no, it’s for people’s every day. It’s for people just to live, just to go to the store. [Hoping for] mostly education for everybody and to help not just Wyatt, but others in Oklahoma that need this.”
Wyatt is Jen’s second child, she also has a fourteen-year-old daughter.
“By the time I was seven month pregnant with Wyatt, they told me my baby would never live,” Jen said. “Minutes before he was born I told them I wanted to tie my tubes. They told me I really shouldn’t think about that because my son probably would not live and there’s always the chance of having another baby.”
Jen was told Wyatt was dying when he was about two hours old.
“His whole life has consisted of limitations and roadblocks. It’s heartbreaking, it’s bittersweet, and honestly, it’s like watching a miracle every day,” Jen said. “And he’s always happy about it. Nothing gets him down.”
Wyatt will turn five on June 11. He loves the water so he attends Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. He is also a student in special education classes at Meyers Elementary School.
He does a lot of things doctors said he’d never do. He eats 100 percent by mouth and not by tube, walks, runs, plays, talks, knows sign language breathes on his own, and most importantly, he lives.
“He wasn’t supposed to see his first birthday, let alone his third or fourth,” Jen said. “Everything they say wouldn’t be possible, he does.”
Wyatt does have some limitations with food, including not being able to eat meat because his body can’t digest the proteins, and he has to drink Ensure two to three times a day to absorb enough calories to sustain a healthy life.
Jen and Wyatt were on the radio on station 96.1 last week for the Children’s Miracle Network. Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative donated $2,500 in Wyatt’s name to the Children’s Miracle Network.
Although Wyatt is able to do a lot, anywhere from September or October through March, he has to wear a mask most of the time.
“He spends 50 percent of his life in Children’s Hospital due to this,” Jen said. “He can’t go out in public, and depending on the days, he can’t even go out of the house. Half his year, he has to stay in seclusion.”
Jen also said that Wyatt is currently enrolled at Meyers because he wants to go to school, but that may have to change—depending on the IVIG. If his immune levels are low, he’ll be pulled out and will be homeschooled.
“It’s all about education,” Jen said. “Just knowing congenital diaphragmatic hernia, I never had heard it until my son was diagnosed with it. But now that there’s so much research on it, this will save thousands of babies. There’s 2,500 babies born every year with this. It’s a small number, but it’s still almost 3,000 lives. You can get it diagnosed by an ultrasound and get it fixed before they’re born. Your child may not have to have IVIG done every month, and all the IVs and tubes and all of it.
“Most of the kids don’t even survive. I only know of three in Oklahoma and I’ve been searching for four years. I want people to just be aware. Just get those ultrasounds when you’re pregnant, it could save you and your child so much pain.”
For people who want to donate in Wyatt’s name, but can’t make it out to the blood drive on Dec. 3, there will be a link on www.obi.org with Wyatt’s name. The link was not yet available at presstime, but should be available today.
For more information on the blood drive, visit the Blood Drive for Wyatt Facebook event. For photos, videos, and more information on Wyatt, visit the Wyatt’s RIOT vs CDH & Autism Awareness Facebook page.