About two years ago I started working at a local hospital after I had become a new mom. The people I worked with became my new family. When you spend 12 hours a day with each other, it’s bound to happen. This is where my SMA story starts.
In September of 2009, I was working the Reno Air Races for the hospital as an EMT. This is where I first met Cameron Goeppert. We had both gone to the same paramedic school, and both had firefighting in common. We worked opposite shifts so we had never really gotten the chance to get to know each other. We instantly became good friends. He told me about his wife, and how they were expecting their first baby. A boy! I was so excited for them! I told him we had TONS of stuff, as our son was a year old now and we has lots of things we could give them. A few months later Charleston was born. I remember Cameron coming on for dayshift and I was leaving from the night shift and I was giving him shift report. His eyes lit up and he talked and talked about his new son and had plenty of pictures to boot. One morning he came in and looked upset. We talked for a good 30 minutes about a check up at the doctors office when Charleston was only 3 weeks old. The doctor made a comment about Cash being too floppy and the milestones he wasn’t hitting. I told my friend not to worry. His son was perfect and on his own schedule. Those words still echo in my ears. A few months after that, the news came that Cash has SMA. My heart ached as a mom, and as a friend as I listened to what this meant. That day Cameron and I worked a shift together. An 8 month old baby came in that was in respiratory distress, and they were talking about inserting a tube in her throat to help her breath. I remember Cameron just looking into the room. “Don’t watch this today.” I said. “ I need to see this. I will be going through this soon.” My heart just ached.
As I said before I am a mother. There is no worse fear as a parent then something being wrong with your child. I cannot imagine ever wondering every single day, hour, minute…..second….. If this is the last time I could hear his laughter, or hold my son while he slept. Cameron and Ashley have taught me how to be a better parent. How to be so thankful and grateful for that gift. Not to waste it. Charleston has taught me true courage can come from a 15 month old. To cherish every breath. Live in the moment. They are truly my hero’s. It might not be my child, but it could have been.
It might not be my child, but it could have been. SMA is so common, yet unknown. The fact that treatment and a cure is so close is AMAZING! But we need the funding. My family and I are planning a few different fundraisers in the upcoming months. One is a bowling tournament. The other is a bake sale. I am also in the works of talking to a few grocery stores here in town to hold a “Tip your bagger” day, and a local restaurant to let some firefighters and paramedics wait on tables. I can only hope to help raise my part, and give my friends , as well as all parents of SMA babies a lifetime with them.