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Liam Young, 4 of Louisburg, plays at Southwestern School while visiting to help his parents accept a donation to assist with expenses for his medical needs. - photo by Dena Harris

HAZEL GREEN—The Southwestern School pulled together a last-minute fundraiser for one of its families in December.

Liam Young, a pre-school student who has seen more than his fair share of hospital rooms in his short 4 years, went in for yet another surgery on Dec. 11. In October 2015, Liam’s parents, Chris and Angela Young, started on a journey they hadn’t anticipated.

Liam’s initial diagnosis still has not been determined, but it had some significant effects, which caused liver and kidney failure and cardiac arrest requiring a medically induced coma upon his successful resuscitation. A further complication was the swelling from the build-up of fluids caused by his kidney failure, causing blisters. Blood clots formed in his fingers and toes to ensure blood flow to his vital organs, causing tissue damage on his hands and feet. Liam’s fingers and toes were removed and he has un-dergone several skin grafting procedures to replace damaged tissue. After months of trying to heal osteomyelitis, a bone infection, in his left foot, the doctors determined that amputation was the best option.
Before heading to surgery, Liam’s school wanted to show their support for the strong little boy and held a fundraiser. The family was happy to participate in the Dec. 7 event at Southwestern High School. The Southwestern girls basketball team was playing rivals Cuba City and the gym was packed.

Liam was able to greet the starting line-up for both teams as they were announced and watched at halftime as people paid to participate in a layup shooting contest.

“We were pleased with how cooperative and supported the Cuba City fans were,” Tina Wright, middle school teacher at Southwestern School, said. “It was really cool to see the two communities come together for this.”

Wright and middle school basketball coach Aaron Kaiser pulled the event together in just six days.

“He had so much fun,” Chris Young said. “It made his night.”

“And he likes the attention,” Angela added. “He told us how much he liked people yelling his name.”

Liam did take an opportunity to thank the crowd before they left for the night.

On Dec. 11, doctors removed the rest of the bones in Liam’s feet from the ankle down, took the bottom of his foot and placed it at the base to create a base for prosthetics.

Chris and Angela said this was his toughest surgery so far. He was in a lot of pain and the staff pulled some strings to have Liam moved to the burn unit in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City where all of the nurses were familiar.

“They treat him like royalty there,” Chris said. “We were originally going to have his surgery done at Shriners, but we asked him where he wanted it done and he loves it down there [Iowa City]. All of the nurses are familiar to him. We don’t want to be there, but we love when we are there.”

Chris said Liam’s appointments are spacing out further now as his situation stabilizes.

“His childhood is returning to normal,” Angela said. “With prosthetics he will be running around like everybody else.”

Last week Liam was fitted for his prosthetics, a running version just for kids. The custom job takes approximately three months to make at American Prosthetics in Iowa City. His parents said he challenges people to race him once he gets his new feet.

“We want to thank the basketball teams and the community for their continuous support since 2015,” Chris said. “It definitely makes it easier.”