Pittsburgh has always had grit, it’s always been a lunch pail and boot strap city, one where hard work is expected and reward is never guaranteed. It’s the city Baby Castiel calls home for now, and like generations of ‘Burgh residents before him it’s where he packs his proverbial lunch on a daily basis, throws on his hardhat, and heads out to slug it out with anything and everything the world throws at him. Rise and grind, rise and grind could accurately describe the mindset of his entire family – Mom Tara, Dad Carl, and Brother Tommy – and they look to Castiel for constant inspiration during these very trying times. So, in the “Steel City” does “Steel sharpen Castiel” or the other way around and “Castiel sharpens Steel”? Either way, this kid is as tough as they come.
“Cas” was born on June 13th at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh weighing 6 lbs. 8 oz., and gave everyone an immediate and unmistakable sign of what was to come by sticking his tongue out to the crowd anxiously awaiting his arrival. Having previously been diagnosed with a left-side congenital diaphragmatic hernia at his 20-week ultrasound, his care team quickly whisked him away to stabilize him and for the following 17 days – with an assist from some ECMO intervention - he prepared for his necessary corrective surgery. Castiel underwent his corrective surgery on June 30th, during the procedure surgeons discovered that while he was almost completely without the left side of his diaphragm, Cas still had a good portion of his left lung and they were very optimistic about his chances for a full recovery. Fast forward now four months, and as is typically the case with CDH, Cas has gone on to endure bouts with pulmonary hypertension, a staph infection, and issues with the structure and functionality of his heart - the latter which will at some point require additional open-heart surgery. Good days are mixed with tough ones but for now Castiel remains resolute to his Pittburgh roots, taking each day as it comes and meeting each challenge with an unbreakable will to overcome!
It also seems fitting that “Castiel” means “Shield of God”, for not only is God behind his shield, but so is anyone lucky enough to be inspired by this brave fighter’s story. The entire Fore Hadley Foundation family continues to send our most sincere thoughts and prayers to Castiel and his family, in our hope for a swift recovery and a long, healthy, and happy life back home with his family that loves him so very much.
About the Fore Hadley Angels in the NICU Fund
Support and proceeds for the Fore Hadley Angels in the NICU Fund will go towards assisting current and future families like Eleanor’s, by providing financial contributions to assist families with the costs associated with extended, long distance travel and living arrangements. Costs that are often a must to ensure the proper specialty care for CDH babies.