Seneca Falls, N.Y. -- He is too young to understand his grave medical condition. Yet this tiny infant named Baby Blake is amazing to his parents and inspiring to his doctors.
“He’s a fighter,” says his father Dean Simmons, choking back tears.
Blake is his first born – everything Simmons had hoped for. “To hold your son, you think about playing football,” says Simmons as a tear rolls down his cheek. And for one brief week, everything was perfect.
“Then Tuesday when I came home I noticed he was pale. His heart was beating really fast like he ran a marathon,” says Simmons.
Dean rushed his son first to the doctor’s office – then to the emergency room - then to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) at Strong Memorial hospital. “You couldn’t touch him anywhere because he had wires and tubes everywhere,” says Simmons. “Just kiss him on the forehead.”
That’s when Dean Simmons and Tracey Purdy learned their infant son’s heart muscles were only partially working. Blake was born with Non-compaction Cardiomyopathy - a rare, congenital heart defect with no treatment options.
“They said he would need a transplant,” says Simmons. “It took me a long time to say that word.”
Sitting in his living room in Seneca Falls, Seneca County the phone rings. It is Tracey on the other end. Theirs is now a commuter family. Dean is holding down the fort here and working full time to pay the bills while Tracey and Blake await the transplant at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.