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Nevada County Picayune-Times - Prescott, AR
  • Toddler in fight for healthy life

  • Thomas Wyatt Wilcox was born June 5, 2012 to Mark Wilcox and his fiance' Kelly Burns.
    Everything seemed all right with the baby, until he reached approximately six months old. He is scheduled to have two surgeries in the near future in Detroit, Michigan.
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  • Thomas Wyatt Wilcox was born June 5, 2012 to Mark Wilcox and his fiance' Kelly Burns.
    Everything seemed all right with the baby, until he reached approximately six months old. He is scheduled to have two surgeries in the near future in Detroit, Michigan.
    He began having infantile spasms, initially,” Wilcox said. “That condition is also known as West Syndrome. At about six months old, he would arch his shoulders, have his arms out, and his head down, and he would repeat this up to 30 times in a 10-minute period. And, he would have as many as three of these spells a day.
    The final diagnosis that we received was Diffuse Cortical Dysplasia which means that his cortex on the right hemisphere of his brain is thickened,” Wilcox said. “In that area, there are seizure focuses and the surgery will try to thin the cortex.”
    Now, Wilcox can speak in medical terms easily because he has been a paramedic and is now an instructor for the Paramedic Program at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope. But, you can tell when you talk to him that his baby and his situation touches his heart.
    We had an EEG done by Dr. Douglas here in Hope and he sent him to Arkansas Children's Hospital,” Wilcox said. “We had excellent care there and they started him on medication and that controlled the seizures for about six months.
    “But then the spasms slowly started coming back and now he has about 20 spasms one time a day now.
    He is my first child and I can't say enough good things about my fiance, Kelly,” Wilcox said. “She has done remarkably well because of what she has been through with her son, Gage.”
    Gage Burns was born with 'short-gut syndrome' and has been confined to a wheelchair for several years. He doesn't let anything stop him or slow him down, though, according to Wilcox.
    He is a bright student at Garrett Memorial Christian School and he never gives up,” he said. “He's a good kid, all in all.
    Page 2 of 2 - “When we got to Arkansas Children's Hospital, we talked to Dr. Amy Luat, who is a neurologist,” Wilcox said. “She studied with people in Detroit, Mich., and she felt that just by the tests she had done, that Wyatt would be a good surgical candidate. She performed a glucose pet scan and because of the results of that one test, she gave Wyatt's diagnosis.
    We are driving to Detroit and a group of neurosurgeons and neurologists who specialize in this type of seizure will do surgery on Wyatt,” he said. “He will go through two operations, one on May 20, so they can insert probes in his brain, and one on May 23, where they will remove the focus areas. The partial seizures have affected his development, and the doctor says if he can't stop the seizures, he will reduce them.”
    That has produced hope for the family.
    With rehab, after the surgery, he should have a normal life,” he said. “The minimum stay in the hospital is 10 days and the maximum is 14 days. He is going to lose peripheral vision in his left eye because of the surgery. The Ronald McDonald House is near the hospital, but availability is an issue. We will have to get a motel room for awhile until a room at the Ronald McDonald House becomes available.
    We're very, very thankful that we were able to find help for Wyatt here, and at Arkansas Children's Hospital,” Wilcox said.
    Several fundraisers have been held to help the family with expenses, including a benefit by the LPN Program at UACCH.
    Another is a drawing for a 45 Colt Commemorative Rifle. Each ticket is $5 or five tickets for $20. This rifle was donated by James Pafford, of Pafford EMS.
    For tickets or more information, contact Rick Stubbs at 870-210-1841 or George Bush at 870-703-1099. The winner will be announced May 15 and the winner need not be present to win.
    The EMS Services in the area have also helped with expenses for this upcoming trip,” Wilcox said. “The donations from the general public have also helped us. We want to say thank you to all the people and all the help we've received. We can see a light at the end of the tunnel and we are praying for healing every day.”
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