Nicole Overton knew something was wrong with her son Mayken when he was 5 years old and had nose bleeds that would last for hours. Although doctors had suggested it was allergies, saline rinses and cauterization of blood vessels in his nose didn’t work. Answers finally came during surgeries to remove his tonsils and adenoids, and doctors saw Mayken wouldn’t stop bleeding.
Shortly after, Mayken, who is now 15, was diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease, which prevents his blood from clotting correctly.
"We were just scared, fearful of what it all meant," Overton said.
The family’s medical worries continued with their two younger sons. Kafry, 5, also has Von Willebrand disease and was born with Chiari malformation that squeezed part of his brain. Three-year-old Saben has a more severe case of that birth defect, but does not have Von Willebrand disease. He required surgeries and has lasting weakness on his right side, as well as developmental delays.
Their youngest, 6-month-old Greeley, is healthy but doctors are monitoring whether he has any of his siblings’ conditions.
The Overtons are part of the Statesman’s Season for Caring program, which each year highlights the needs of 12 families and helps hundreds of others through local nonprofits. The Overtons were nominated by Any Baby Can.
Their children’s medical debt has ballooned to $24,000. Because they have diverted so much of their attention and budget toward their children’s medical needs, the Overtons have half-completed home improvement projects.
They have fashioned a large umbrella in their backyard to address Saben and Kafry’s light sensitivity even though they really need a covered patio. Half of the living room does not have baseboards, the backyard fence has fallen, and Saben uneasily navigates the stairs because the handrails face the side of his body that is weakened.
Home remodeling company Simply Sold has volunteered to make some of those repairs. In the new year, its staff will be meeting with the family and assessing what they will be able tackle based on logistics and budget.
"Season for Caring has become one of our most important annual traditions at Simply Sold," said CEO Ashley Wainscott. "We now have the opportunity and the tools at our fingertips to change the way people live and function in their home.
"We are committed to the mission of Season for Caring and the bigger impact this has on our community. It is a no-brainer when you ask us if we want to be apart of bettering lives. The cherry on top is that we get to offer our services of what we do best."
The family still has many items on its wish list. The Overtons need help with past medical debt, a sectional couch, pest control, an automatic garage door system, plumbing repairs, protective baseball gear for son Mayken, equine therapy for Saben, YMCA activities for Kafry and diapers for Greeley, as well as respite care and gift cards for food, restaurants and clothing.
For more information about the Overton family or to give an item on their wish list, contact Any Baby Can, 512-454-3743, anybabycan.org.