Thursday, March 4, 2010

831 Philanthropy Project - Photographer donates portion of sales to CHERUBS for the month of March!

8 3 1 Photography is donating a portion their profits for March to CHERUBS in memory of Jana Moldenhauer Lewallen's adorable son Drew. 

Thank you 8 3 1 and Jana! :)

831 Philanthropy Project

To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected!

We here at 831 Photography have been blessed! We firmly believe that "To whom much is given, much is expected!" and so we started the 831 Philanthropy Project!

Each month, we choose a cause or organization that we believe in and we donate a percentage of our sales to them.

This is not a percentage of profit, this is a percentage of TOTAL SALES!

March's Project: CDH Awareness

The following was written by my friend Jana. The picture above is her son Drew. It is a long passage, but please take the time to read it and you will understand why this cause is so near to my heart. Drew would have turned 4 years old this month and that is why I am dedicating March's donations to him!

I discovered that I was pregnant in July 2005. In October of that same year, my husband and I went for the routine ultrasound given mid-pregnancy. The hospital staff acted strangely but would only tell us that we could not see all four chambers of the heart. We thought it curious because we could clearly see them. Three days later, we found ourselves in the office of a perinatologist receiving a level II ultrasound.

The doctor entered the room and bluntly told us that our son had a condition known as a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) and had a 50% chance of survival. I was offered the option to terminate the pregnancy but, in conjunction with my husband, I declined. What followed was an anxiety filled pregnancy, multiple frequent ultrasounds, biophysical profiles and stress tests. I also did extensive research on the condition and what I found was not promising.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia affects approximately 1 in every 2,000 to 3,000 pregnancies. There is no known cause and little research being done on the defect and its cause(s). Outcomes depend on the severity of the defect. Simply put, a congenital diaphragmatic hernia is when the diaphragm does not completely form during weeks 7-10 of development. This lack of complete formation of the diaphragm allows the stomach, intestines, liver, etc. to migrate into the chest cavity. This in turn stunts lung development. Children born with CDH are almost always placed on a ventilator to assist in breathing.

One of the biggest problems with CDH is known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). This is when the heart and lungs cannot adequately oxygenate the blood. In severe cases, the child will need to be put on extended heart/lung bypass known as ECMO (extra corporeal membrane oxygenation). If this happens, the chance of survival decreases drastically.

It was decided that labor would be induced on March 7, 2006, in order to allow the full medical team needed to be present at the birth. The induction did not work and Raymond “Drew” Lewallen was born via c-section on at 11:58 a.m. March 8, 2006. Drew weighed in at a strapping 7 lbs. 10 oz. He let out two weak cries before he was intubated and rushed out of the room. A doctor pulled my husband out into the hallway to tell him that things did not look good at all. It was then left to my husband to tell me.

After his birth, doctors were able to definitively see Drew’s lung tissue and what organs were in his chest (the fewer, the better). ALL of his abdominal organs were in his chest and he had 85% of a right lung and a left lung “bud.” Approximately 30 hours after birth, Drew was placed on ECMO. He remained on ECMO for 15 days and was successfully weaned off of it.

He underwent extensive repair surgery, moving his organs back to his abdomen and patching the hole in his diaphragm. Drew did well through surgery and thereafter. However, while on ECMO, his kidneys were irreparably damaged and he suffered kidney failure. We were told this heart failure would happen fairly quickly.

On April 16, 2006, Easter Sunday, my husband and I made the decision to discontinue support for our son. Drew passed away in my arms at 3:29 p.m., never having taken a breath on his own. He lived and fought for 5 weeks and 4 days.

Drew’s father, older sister and I were blessed to have him in our lives, even for such a brief period of time. His little brother was born 1 year and 3 days after his death. Drew remains a daily presence in our lives. I founded an informational website called CDH Rainbows for families dealing with CDH and work with CHERUBS, a non-profit, to continue to raise awareness of this devastating condition. Over the past couple of years, more and more research has begun to discover the causes of CDH and the best way to treat CDH. CHERUBS is on the front lines fighting for such research on a daily basis.

We will be donating 5% of our sales in March to CHERUBS in honor of Drew

If you have a cause or organization you believe in, feel free to submit it to us! You can email: and submit your idea, cause or organization.

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