It was a seemingly normal Thursday. Paige and Jason Caudle dropped their 4-year-old son Henry off at daycare in Topeka, not knowing it would be the last time they’d see their son alive.
“He had collapsed at daycare,” Jason said. “One of the kids called the teacher and said Henry was hurt. They started doing everything they could and needed to do at that time. Between the people there and the paramedics, they tried for a long time to bring him back around, and his little heart just couldn’t do it.”
When Paige was about 27 weeks pregnant, the couple received devastating news that Henry had a severe congenital heart defect that can’t be cured.
“He was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome,” Paige said. “Basically that’s where the left side of his heart didn’t develop for whatever reason.”
Henry received three open heart surgeries over the years.
“It’s not a condition that can be cured,” Jason said. “The best they can do is rearrange and reorganize the arteries and veins around the heart, to let the half of a heart that he had, do the work of a full heart.”
After his latest surgery last summer, Henry seemed stronger. Doctors had no concerns at his last appointment in December, making his death even more sudden for his family.
“It was just so heartbreaking because after everything he’s gone through, there wasn’t anything more we could do for him,” Paige said. “So we just held him and told him how much we loved him.”
In just 4 short years, Henry’s impact is vast. The memories with him bring comfort to the Caudles during this difficult time.
“He always had people around and he just loved people,” his parents rememeber. “He loved to smile. He loved to be the center of attention, very much.”
“He impacted people around him,” Paige said. “It’s been nice to hear from people who are checking in on us, because of how much our little boy meant to them.”
Today, they find strength through Henry to spread awareness of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), all in hopes of helping other kids live long, healthy lives.
“The more awareness we can bring to it, hopefully that can help other families,” Jason stressed. “Hopefully that can help doctors and researchers improve outcomes for these kids.”
“My goal would be just to continue on, have everyone remember Henry’s name, and raise funds and awareness on what CHD is and what others can do,” Paige said.
Hear more about Henry’s journey on the following Blog: https://fellowshipofthecaudles.blogspot.com
The “Henry J Caudle Memorial Fund” is set up at CoreFirst Bank and Trust. The family says they plan to use the funds to either build or maintain a swing set for the Shawnee County Parks & Rec for other kids to enjoy. Henry loved swinging.
Donations can also be made in Henry’s name to other local organiztions who helped him in his journey including: TARC, Tiny K Program, TDC Learning Center, The Ronald McDonald House Charities, Sister-by-Heart, and Children’s Mercy Hospital.