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Fish fry will raise money for infant's surgery

Staff writer

Liam Baliel was born Aug. 9 to Mark and Michelle Baliel of Wichita at Wesley Medical Center.

Liam was born with Down syndrome, and doctors soon found he has a hole in his heart, although they said it would probably heal without surgery, Liam’s grandmother, Phyllis Landis of rural Marion, said Friday.

He was airlifted to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where doctors found another, more serious hole in his heart, one that would require surgery.

His heart rate has been so high that he has been unable to nurse or bottle feed, Landis said. Because of that, he has required a feeding tube.

Landis said surgeons want him to weigh at least 10 lbs. before performing heart surgery. Liam weighed 6 lbs., 11 ounces at birth, but a lot of that was fluid weight, his grandmother said. After the excess fluids drained from his body, he had lost a lot of weight, but he has recovered well. Liam was released from Children’s Mercy Hospital on Friday.

“He’s doing better,” Landis said Friday.

Landis said Liam’s older siblings have had a hard time coping with their brother’s plight.

“At first, they were really upset to think he had all these problems,” but that has improved, she said. “You just sit there and hope he does well. He’s such a fighter.

“He’s so delightful,” Landis said.

American Legion Post 366 in Hillsboro is planning a fish fry at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 to raise money to help with Liam’s medical expenses. Landis and her husband, Claude, are members of the post. She said the members voted unanimously to have the fundraiser.

“I was really amazed,” Landis said. “(Post Commander) Dick Carr put it really well. He said, ‘Fellas, we’re all family here. We’re here as your family to support you.’”

Last modified Sept. 22, 2011

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