Bryson’s Riley story began when he was less than a day old. He was born the evening of March 5th, 2013 and was on a life-line flight from Fort Wayne to Riley the very next morning. He had been diagnosed prenatally with hydronephrosis, or swelling of the kidneys, which was expected to be a mild case. However, after a series of events shortly after birth, it was determined that he was also born with multiple congenital heart defects. Due to the heart defects, he was quickly prepped and flown to Riley. Once at Riley, additional tests confirmed that he had an interrupted aortic arch, aortic valve stenosis, a very large VSD, and an ASD. He had his 1st open heart surgery, the Norwood Procedure, at 7 days old, followed by 2 heart caths and a 2nd open heart surgery by the time he was 7 1/2 months old. During the 2nd open heart surgery, his VSD was closed and a bovine valve placed. Bryson’s hydronephrosis was also much worse than anticipated, which required two different ureteral stent procedures and a ureteral reimplantation surgery at 14 months. He also had biweekly appointments until his 2nd open heart surgery, a g-tube placed and other periodic in-patient stays during those first few months.
Needless to stay, we spent quite a bit of time at Riley throughout his first year of life. During that time, Riley became like a second home to us and the nurses, doctors and staff felt like our extended family. Thanks to Riley, Bryson had a fighting chance at life. And they not only cared for Bryson, but they cared for our entire family. They made sure we had what we needed while we stayed there and they helped train us to be able to care for Bryson and his many extra needs once we brought him home.
As Bryson got older, visits to Riley became a lot less frequent, thankfully, but Bryson continued to be seen by Riley Cardiology, Urology and Nephrology. He even had two kidney stone removals but overall, was a healthy, thriving young boy.
However, in the fall of 2020 Bryson came down with a blood infection that turned into infective endocarditis. He was transferred down to Riley and spent a week in the Riley Heart Center while the cardiology and infectious disease teams worked together to eliminate the infection as quickly as possible. The Riley staff was, once again, so incredible with Bryson. Child Life helped calm his nerves and distract him during the numerous blood draws he had and the nurses and doctors not only cared for his physical health but kept his spirits high. He came home with a PICC line with high dose antibiotics for 6 weeks but soon after was back to normal.
Unfortunately, during Bryson’s regular cardiology check-up in January 2022, it was determined that his bovine valve needed to be replaced due to some lingering complications from the endocarditis. He had his 3rd open heart surgery on February 7th, 2022, and the incredible surgery team, lead by Dr. Rodefeld, was able to place an adult size valve! This will hopefully mean that the valve should not require another replacement until adulthood! Yet again, we were so incredibly thankful for the Riley team. The CVICU & Heart Center nurses, Child Life, cardio thoracic surgery team and cardiologists all helped ensure Bryson’s post-op recovery went as smooth as possible and, again, cared for his physical health while also helping to keep his nerves and anxiety at bay.
Bryson is now a pretty typical 3rd grader and just celebrated his 10th birthday! He continues to follow-up with his Riley cardiologist, urologist and nephrologist and will need specialized care that only a place like Riley can provide throughout his life. Bryson has been attending PUDM since 2014, as well as other Dance Marathon’s around the state throughout the years. He also collected over 100 Lego sets last fall to donate to the Riley Cheer Guild! He loves giving back and helping Riley in any way possible so that they can continue to help other kids like him.
When you dedicate your time and effort to the dance marathon to help raise funds for Riley Hospital for Children, you are ensuring that they can continue to provide incredible, world class care for other Riley kids like Bryson! You are ensuring that no child fights alone; and that no family fights alone either. And, because of that, our family is eternally grateful to each and every student who is a part of such an amazing organization!!! We truly cannot thank you all enough!
-The Faus Family