• When Your Little Boy Needs A Prosthetic Eye & You Can’t Afford It

    The Barnett Family Needs Our Help

    BARNETT FAMILYLori and Timothy Barnett were going to have a baby, and like all couples, they were terribly excited. Then, on March 3, 2011, their son Colten came into the world right there in Stephenville, Texas. Before the Barnetts left the hospital, they knew what no parent ever wants to know…their baby had problems.

    “They told us that Colten’s left eye was not reflecting light as it should.”

    The couple brought Colten home from the hospital and within two weeks, they were referred to a pedi ophthalmologist. This doctor soon realized that the baby also had problems with his cornea.

    This time, the family was sent to one of the top cornea doctors in the state, who found a detached retina and discovered that Colten was blind in his left eye. There was nothing that could be done for him.

    “Then, we were referred to Dr. Spencer, one of the top pedi-retina specialists. He confirmed that the retina was completely detached, and he actually gave a conclusive diagnosis Colten did have Morning Glory Disc Anomaly, meaning that the optic lens is developed in the shape of a morning glory.”

    This is a condition so rare that only one in a million people have it…2 of those are Colten and I.”

    Dr. Spencer went on to tell Lori that almost any type of surgery was impossible. Colten was only about six months old at this point, and he had also been diagnosed with Floppy Eyelid Syndrome. He was referred to a plastic surgeon who did two corrective surgeries, one that was on both eyes and another just on the left.

    The couple rocked on and then the cornea doctor began to suggest a prosthesis for Colten’s left eye. COLTEN BARNETT

    “I thought he meant a glass eye, and I was completely opposed to that! It didn’t sink in for a while that they were not going to take his eyeball out. They wanted to put something over it. Since his was dead, it wasn’t going to grow so that would keep the facial bones from growing properly, twisting his face. The shell prosthesis would benefit him in allowing the eye socket and facial bones to grow properly.”

    Colten had this procedure done for the first time last year.

    “I had no idea how we would come up with what the insurance wouldn’t pay. I was scared, I was angry, I was hurt. I felt like a failure as a mother because I couldn’t provide what my child needed. I grew up with a disability, but things did not cost like they do now, and my parents were able to provide hearing aids for me.

    COLTEN BARNETT“I had to swallow my pride. It was very humbling to know that people cared enough to give a benefit so that we could have the prosthesis made for Colten.”

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t a one-time procedure. As Colten grows, he will have to have his prosthesis enlarged every six months for his face to continue to grow correctly. Last month, was the latest in a long line of procedures that he will need for years.

    Today, Timothy and Lori continue to make payments for services received last year, without a lot of chance to catch up and get ahead enough to pay for the next procedure.

    It’s not a lot of money…unless you are a young couple with a disabled and special needs child (Colten also has neurological issues and SPD, sensory processing disorder) and a $1,500 insurance deductible each year. What they will owe (after meeting $1,500 per year) is $500.00 out of pocket every six months until Colten reaches full growth.

    If you feel led to help Colten keep his prosthesis, you are welcome to donate at gofundme.com. Of course, to save administrative costs, you can always give to the Barnett family directly.

    About Fredda Jones

    Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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