Win Fred’s Porsche … for a cause
BRECKENRIDGE – Former Breckenridge resident Fred Ebert is raffling off his 1985 Porsche 911 and donating the proceeds to his son’s school in Sonoma, Calif., which has been instrumental to the boy’s recovery from numerous surgeries.The Eberts, who still have family and friends in Summit County, moved to California in 1998 in hopes of making life easier for their son, Logan, who was 2 at the time.The third-grader was born with esophageal atresia, a condition found in one of every 3,000 to 4,000 children each year, in which some portion of the esophagus is missing.In Logan’s case, about five centimeters of his esophagus had failed to develop – putting him in a category with about 8 percent of those born with esophageal atresia whose case is extreme.Doctors kept the baby in the intensive care unit of the hospital for two months to see if the esophagus would grow and join the stomach; instead the gap widened. Other complications that often accompany the condition include cardiac problems; Logan was born with several holes in his heart, said his mother, Maralee.While the condition was fatal in babies born in the 1950s, technology has advanced to ensure that babies born with the affliction can lead normal lives. Typically, surgeons take a section of colon and transplant it into the thoracic cavity to fill the gap, or try to pull the top of the stomach up through the diaphragm to reach the esophagus.There also is the risk the colon will be rejected in the transplant operation, and although a colon transplanted into a baby will grow with the child, the colon often begins to break down over time, requiring additional surgeries throughout a patient’s life. The list of side effects includes tumors and infection.Maralee and Fred didn’t like that option and instead researched and found a surgeon with the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who had treated more than 71 children with esophageal atresia – and with a 100 percent success rate.Doctors sedated and paralyzed the 8-pound boy for a procedure that would ultimately last 10 days. Surgeons accessed the esophagus on a daily basis, pulling with threads sewn onto the ends of the esophagus and stretching the tissue gently and slowly until it reached the other end.In the ensuing years, Logan has undergone 10 major surgeries – heart, stomach and esophagus among them – and 28 minor operations. He faces another major surgery to repair a vocal cord paralyzed in a previous procedure.Surgeons said they believed Logan could lead a normal life. But the high altitude in Breckenridge presented a challenge, so the Eberts moved to California.”It benefited him to live at high altitude before his heart surgery,” Maralee said. “We just thought he’d be sick all the time. But his cardiologist did a test and said he wasn’t getting any blood circulation to the outside third of his lungs and told us to move as close to sea level as possible.”Logan is 8-and-a-half now – an age his initial doctors didn’t think he’d see. He weighs 54 pounds – four pounds less than his 4-year-old sister, Jenna – which puts him in the 50th percentile for his age.”He was in the negative 20 (percentile),” Maralee said of Logan’s weight when he was an infant. “We were thrilled when he made it to zero.”The school he attends, Woodland Star Charter School, is a Waldorf-methods public school and has been beneficial in Logan’s progress to a normal life, Maralee said. The Eberts are founding family members.Activities at the school include baking, knitting, music and sports. And there’s no aggression permitted, Maralee said. Logan wouldn’t be able to handle a bully.Fred is donating his car for the school in appreciation for its work with their son.The vehicle is a Porsche Carerra 911 with 108,000 miles on it. It boasts a 200 horsepower engine and has never been involved in a major accident.The Eberts will sell 600 tickets at $50 apiece; the drawing is scheduled for Oct. 30. Tickets are available at Ebert Appraisal Service, Gregory Door and Windows, Clark Heller and McGahey and Breckenridge Associates, all in Breckenridge. Additional details can be obtained at http://www.winfredsporsche.com.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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