2011-10-13 / Local & State

Chas Howells Fundraiser Set For Next Saturday

Toddler suffering from pulmonary vein stenosis
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER


Chas Howells Chas Howells Since first making the “News” last month, soon-to-be 15- month-old Chad Howells is fighting the good fight.

Chas is “still hanging in there and still smiling,” according to proud parents Wes Howells and Shawna Seville, both of Mc- Connellsburg. Suffering from an incurable vein disorder known as pulmonary vein stenosis (PVS), Chas was diagnosed at 5 months old after exhibiting signs of weight loss and vomiting. Already subjected to open heart surgery months earlier, the newest diagnosis is a rare condition that entails a narrowing of the blood vessels carrying blood from the lungs to the heart.

Howells stated his son had basically been maintaining his current health status until a week ago when the family thought Chas was suffering from an upper respiratory condition. A two-day visit at Hershey Medical Center complete with IV and antibiotics cleared up the situation, but not until after the family went into panic mode.

Furthermore, due to Chas’s already weakened immune system, the family was temporarily forced to halt the use of a targeted chemotherapy drug called Gleevac. Typically taken daily through a feeding tube with water or apple juice, the pills are part of an experimental PVS study at Children’s Hospital Boston. Chas is one of 18 infant patients participating in the study.

Since last visiting Boston, Chas’s family has been fully aware of the condition of his veins that having been categorized as mildly stenosed but always having the capability of progressing to moderate or severe. Testing set for Monday in Hershey, which will include a sedated echocardiogram, will hopefully unveil more as to Chas’s condition.

Just as surprising as this rare, progressive condition is the outpouring of support from Fulton County.

On September 17, event organizers Greg “Bucky” Zeger and Josh Hall hosted a hog roast at the McConnellsburg American Legion Picnic Grounds. The event, Howells stated, raised in excess of $13,000, with monetary donations still pouring in today.

“It was a huge success,” Howells said. “I never dreamt it would raise the money it did.”

Of course, Howells noted the event could only be as successful as the individuals involved, including the organizers, cooks, businesses and individuals donating raffle prizes and monetary contributions and attendees, which numbered nearly 250.

“We’re just so grateful for the support we’ve received from everyone. It’s truly been an overwhelming experience,” the family said.

The support will not end there, however, as a second benefit for Chas Howells has been scheduled for Saturday, October 22, at American Legion Post #561, McConnellsburg, between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Event tickets are currently available at Curl Up & Dye Salon, Designs & Styles, Great Cove Baskets, HarrĂ­s Grocery, Morton’s Feed Mill, Peck’s Insurance and Precision Cuttery.

Each $20 donation covers the cost of two adult dinners, entertainment, dancing and auctions. In addition, ticket holders need not be present to win the 500 drawing.

Further information regarding this benefit can be obtained by contacting Autumn Ramsey at 717-485- 0100.

With no way of knowing what the future will hold or what expenses the family may incur, Howells stated in the event there would be even one dollar remaining in Chas’s medical expense account his wish would be to donate that money to PVS research at Children’s Hospital Boston. The leading facility in PVS research, there is much more to be learned about the disease and how to combat it, Howells added.

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