Community Offers Support for Sick Baby - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/26/03

Community Offers Support for Sick Baby

Maybe the only thing worse than suffering an illness yourself is watching your children go through it.
especially something that could disfigure, even kill, before their first birthday. WTOC spoke with one Bulloch County family who's facing this trouble, but they say they're getting as much help from their neighbors as the doctors.

Kristen Glisson says daughter Reese has had a lifetime of hardship in just six months. At birth, she was the picture of health. Two months later, she and husband Joe noticed what they thought might be a birthmark.

"Our first main concern was how's she going to deal with this the rest of her life. Then we found it was also internal and life threatening," said Kristin.

It's called "wildfire stage" hemangioma. Milder forms are much more common. Scars on her hand show past IV's as doctors use laser surgery and steroids to treat the growths on her face, in her ears, and in her windpipe. Now the Glissons go back and forth to Atlanta.

"28 days at a time once. I think 10 days was the second trip. Can't remember how many the third was," said Joe Glisson.

Now the community is coming together to help the Glissons, with everything from raffles to a trust fund at a local bank. "I have a little girl of my own and it just broke my heart when I found out they needed some help, said Denise Burnsed, who helped organize the support efforts.

To all this, Kristen said, "I'm from a big city. I didn't know it could be like this. It's been unbelievable."

The Glissons hope others can spot the condition in their children sooner by seeing Reese. Through it all, they say if Reese can still smile they can too.

The trust fund is open at the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Statesboro in the name of Reese Glisson. Doctors tell the Glissons the growth could start shrinking in another six to nine months.
But they've got to keep her windpipe and her ears clear until then. After that, plastic surgery would help them heal the scars.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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