Wednesday, May 5, 2010

CDH Survivor & Save the Cherubs CDH Awareness Campaign in the news!


Local youth chosen Ambassador for CDH awareness campaign
For The Record

Aaron Younce, son of Carl and Julie Younce of North Wilkesboro, has been chosen as one of several Ambassadors to represent children born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia [CDH] for the 'Save the Cherubs' national awareness campaign.
Younce, a student at Mountain View Elementary School, has lived with the severe disorder since his birth in 1999.  His parents learned of the defect prior to his birth.  
 CDH occurs when the diaphragm fails to fully form, allowing the abdominal organs to move into the chest cavity preventing complete and normal lung development and growth.  One in every 2500 babies are born with CDH.
 Upon his birth, doctors gave his parents the horrific prognosis that he would not live. Younce spent the first three months of his life in the PICU and NICU at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he underwent two major surgeries and numerous other medical procedures to help correct some of the most critical issues.  When his team of specialists determined he had gained enough strength to go home, his family turned their nursery into an in home hospital room equipped with life saving oxygen, heart monitors, suction machines, feeding pumps and pulse oximeter.  For many years, this was the normal everyday life in the home. 
With continued medical support, family love and God's blessings, Younce gained strength and abilities that enabled him to detach from his highly controlled and monitored lifestyle.  Today he is capable of living without daily oxygen except when he requires extra breathing help during bouts of illness.  However, CDH has left Younce with pulmonary hyperplasia of the left lung, pulmonary hypotension and asthma, making every other illness that he contracts, such as colds or viruses,  much more serious and harder to fight.
CDH, unknown to most, occurs as often as other defects such as Cystic Fibrosis and Spina Bifida.  The goal of the Raleigh based, national CDH CHERUBS non-profit organization is to bring awareness, understanding and hope to families fighting the deadly defect. 
     "When Aaron learned that he had been chosen to represent the CHERUBS, he was excited and relieved to know it would help people understand what he is living with," said his mother.  "After numerous questions from his friends at school as to what caused his many scars, he kidded with them and told them that he had been bitten by a shark.  He has always been very relaxed about discussing his illness and wants everyone else to understand it. By being one of the faces of this 'Save the Cherubs' campaign, he is glad that he will be able to help others who suffer from CDH and those who don't but want to understand it.
 Missy Severt, The Record Sports photographer and owner of Photo Memories Studios was chosen to photograph Younce for the campaign.  Her work will be showcased in the national awareness campaign in print and billboards.  The first digital billboard will be displayed in early May along Hwy 421 Bypass near Arby's.
 "Our family is proud to be part of such a wonderful project and appreciate all of the time that Missy put into the many photographs she took," said Younce. "We hope this will bring much awareness and education to a very serious and life threatening birth defect that, until now, has been unknown to almost everyone."
 For more information on CDH and "Save the Cherubs' go to

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