This column has been a major opportunity for my life. But with Christmas around the corner, I realized this column can have an impact on others as well. Human necessities are intertwined, meaning we have an obligation to take care of one another. In many ways, Christmas reflects this.
Up until this point, my columns haven’t discussed very substantial topics, but the situation I am about to present needs to be addressed. There is a local family that has been given a beautiful gift but also has unique circumstances that will require the community’s help to overcome.
It’s an especially jolly Christmas for Anjoleen, 22, and Joe Alire, 21, of Aztec, with the birth of their first child, Kian. It is baby Kian’s first Christmas, but within his four months of life, due to an extremely rare condition called bladder exstrophy, where the baby is born with the bladder on the outside his or her body, he has already endured 13 hours of surgery.
I read about baby Kian’s condition on a donation jar in town. After a few days of it lingering in my mind, I decided to get in touch with the family to learn more. When Anjoleen and I first spoke over the phone, she calmly explained to me the ins and outs of bladder exstrophy. Kian’s pediatricians said that bladder exstrophy occurs in 1 in 50,000 births. Kian’s condition requires three more needed surgeries with the chance of many more depending on growth. There are very few people capable of treating exstrophies within our region. The closest specialist is in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico hospital as well as the UNM Carrie Tingley Children’s Hospital, which the Alire family make visits to monthly.
Joe spends his day out of the house driving the Mancos-to-Cortez route for FedEx, while Anjoleen stays home to take care of Kian. She plans to return to her front desk job at Comfort Inn in Farmington once Kian has stabilized.
If you know anyone who has had surgery of any sort, then you know how expensive surgery is, and the three remaining surgeries will amount to lots of hospital bills, along with traveling expenses to and from Albuquerque. As she educated me, I couldn’t help but admire the spark in her voice that reflected the strength she has in dealing with the gravity of their situation. And based on the strength Anjoleen and Joe are displaying, there is no doubt that they are two great parents.
It is my hope that many of us will make room in our budgets for any small contribution toward helping the Alire family. I’m not particularly devoted to one faith; but many religious philosophies say we all have a piece of God within us – and I believe God has a big present for baby Kian’s first Christmas.
To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/wsg5pzcs
Ryan Yaseen is a Durango boy by birth, currently a sophomore studying communication at Fort Lewis College. Outside school, his preoccupation’s involve world travel, mountain biking and adventure sports.