On December 16, 2011, Regina couple, Shantal Ecarnot (formerly from Coronach) and Cole Lawson welcomed their first child, Nixon into the world.
Nixon was born weighing 7 lbs., 2 oz.
The joyous birth of their son was shadowed by a diagnosis that the couple received at Shantal’s 20 week ultrasound. During her ultrasound, the couple were made aware that thier unborn child had a congenital heart defect.
Shantal remembers that day, “We found out at our 20 week ultrasound about Nixon’s heart defect. It’s crazy how when preparing to go to your ultrasound the most asked question by family and friends is what sex is the baby. You never prepare yourself for the possibility of something being wrong with the babies health and development.”
The couple learned that the baby had pulmonary artresia with VSD. “They also made mention to him having either a very small or absent thymus gland, along with only one umbulicular artery,” explained Shantal.
As the couple had been seeing cardiologists in Saskatoon through the pregnancy, Nixon was delivered there.
The newborn spent 6 days in NICU and then the decision was made to fly the family to Edmonton to have a shunt inserted into his heart.
He spent 5 days in Edmonton and it was decided no shunt was needed at that time.
Cole recalled, “Nixon was then flown back to Regina Special Care Nursery where he spent 5 days.”
On February 22, the family traveled to Calgary’s Children’s Hospital where they met with a immunologist doctor.
“Our fear of the affects of the missing thymus that we had always worried about from the start had come to life. Nixon’s T cells (infection fighting cells) and B cells, were very low (only having 12 out of 1500). This meant that Nixon basically had no immune system, making him very susceptible to infection.”
The couple was dealt a very grim diagnosis. “The doctor informed us that children with a situation like this are likely to survive to 2 years old.”
The couple were encouraged when the doctor informed them of a thymus transplant, which is done at Duke University in North Carolina. The procedure would transplant thymus tissue into Nixon’s thighs in order that he would build his own immune system like any normal baby.
The couple is currently waiting for surgery at the Stollery Hospital in Edmonton to repair his heart. Once the heart surgery is completed, and Nixon is recovered, the family plans to travel to North Carolina for the thymus transplant at the Duke University.
The Saskatchewan Government has agreed to cover the cost of the transplant, but the couple will need to move to North Carolina for approximately 6 months of isolation recovery for Nixon.
Family and friends are currently fundraising to help the couple
Despite the stress, and frustration over the situation, my wife Shantal and I are very fortunate to have Nixon in our lives, full of joy and happiness.
Shantal caught us up with her family since their move from Coronach, “ I moved from Coronach to Melville in 1997, just after finishing Grade 5. I am currently enrolled in the LPN program at SIAST, but due to Nixon’s condition I have put my schooling on hold, but look forward to finishing it when he is all better. Cole is a City Police Officer with the Regina Police Force.
My mom and Dad (Joe and Adelle Ecarnot) are currently living in Pilot Butte, SK - My dad is still driving for STC (Saskatchewan Transportation Company) and my mom is a Realtor for Remax.
My Brother Corey is an Intermediate Paramedic for the La Ronge EMS and is the Operations Manger for the La Ronge EMS base.
My Sister Nicole Ecarnot Perkins is married to Tyler Perkins, has 2 children Tyson (9) Alexis (6) - She is one of the lead singers in FOXX Worthee and the photographer/owner of Novia Photo she currently lives in Lethbridge, AB.
Nicole and Crystal from FOXX Worthee recorded “Hallelujah” with all proceeds going to Nixon. You can purchase the recording from itunes or from their group’s website, www.foxxworthee.com
“The support from our family and friends and people who we don’t even know has been overwhelming. It’s amazing how much compassion people have,” said Shantal.
The latest fundraiser in the works is a Benefit Cabaret on May 25th.
The cabaret will be at the Callie Curling club and will run from 7pm – 1 am
There will be a silent auction with some impressive items from the music and sporting world, including five Pro signed autograph jerseys including Sid Crosby (Pens and Olympic), Malkin, Kunitz (signed by team), Fleury, Montreal Canadians team jersey, Moen, Getzlaf, Ladd, Stoll, Jon Ryan (game worn, along with game ball and 2 game tickets to any Seahawks game), Fantuz (Hamilton), Johnson, Labatte, other Rider Players and sports memorabilia (Ryan Dempster autographed baseball-CUBS), Plus items like an Ipad 3 and lots of Music Industry gear – Johnny Reid Signed Guitar, Taylor Swift signed merch etc.
Entertainment for the evening will include FOXX Worthee, Amy Nelson, Alex Runions (Subject to Change).
Tickets can be purchased at any Regina Bath Goddess Location and donations can be made to: “Donations- In Trust of Nixon Lawson” at the Affinity Credit Union.
For more information please visit The Nixon Fund on Facebook.