Bronson stone, a 6-year-old Waterville Elementary School student who had open heart surgery, was the spotlight of a recent American Heart Association Heart Walk in Chattanooga.
Last Fall, Bronson was playing baseball at Blue Springs Park, and started complaining that his heart was hurting. His family took him to visit a cardiologist, who performed an EKG exam.
The doctor thought that it might be exercise-induced asthma, and issued an inhaler for Bronson to use, according to the family. Bronson went the rest of the year still complaining every once in awhile that his heart was hurting. In May, he was running during a baseball game and complained of chest pains again. This time he almost passed out, regurgitated and felt like he couldn’t breathe.
Kim, Bronson’s mother said, “I kept telling the doctor, I need to know when to call 911.”
His family brought him back to see the cardiologist again. This time they did an exercise stress test and echocardiogram. During the test at the children’s hospital in Chattanooga, the technician left the room and got the doctor.
“We knew something was wrong,” Kim said.
The cardiologist found that Bronson’s left artery was not in the correct spot. The results were sent to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and it was determined he’d have to have open heart surgery.
Kim said, “He looks so perfect on the outside, and suddenly they’re telling you your son has to have open heart surgery.” The family had a chance to meet with the surgeon that was going to perform his surgery to go through everything that was going to happen, and was able to meet with Bronson before the surgery.
Bronson then had a cardiac MRI and scheduled the surgery for July 3. Bronson’s dad, Scott, said “Bronson’s very active and has played baseball since he was old enough to throw, and now were being told that he was going to have to stop playing. As a parent you don’t want anything to happen to your children; you would rather it happen to you.”
Bronson was having low blood flow, and slowed heart function, and the episodes he was having could have been a sign of a stroke due to the heart conditions he was unaware he had at the time.
Bronson had a lot of support from his family, friends and pastor.
He was able to have his own Web page called “Praying for Bronson Stone.”
Scott said, “It really was a blessing to see people post pictures.”
“I got to check my Web page every day and see how many people were following me,” Bronson said.
Bronson is in the first grade at Waterville Elementary School and his teacher, Shannon Belisle, and principal showed their support by keeping up with the online page even through the summer.
“Even the principal, Charline Quine, said ‘I think I’m going to cry,’” said Kim.
Bronson’s church demonstrated support for him by calling him down and playing his favorite song, “10,000 reasons,” before his surgery. When they concluded the song, the church family gathered around him and prayed.
“The surgery seemed to be long hours of waiting, but we were fortunate to have our family and pastor there,” Kim said. “We had excellent support and tried to stay positive.”
After only 16 weeks, Bronson is back to playing baseball and was in the spotlight of Chattanooga’s recent Heart Walk. His great-aunt Marsha Stone, who works for U.S. Express in Dalton, Ga., and was a sponsor of the Heart Walk, asked if she could use his story as part of her team. The story was put on the American Heart Association’s website. At the Heart Walk, Bronson was called on stage and his aunt shared his story with the audience. The walk was 2 1/2 miles and Bronson said he had a great time.
“I got a torch, a survivor hat, and balloon that ended up popping,” Bronson said.
Bronson’s family said they are all very thankful for the support that family, friends, pastors and the American Heart Association provided.