It was supposed to be a routine checkup, but Kaizer Dechant’s 2-month-old well child check ended up setting his family on an unexpected path. A physician in Hays heard a heart murmur in August and referred the infant for additional testing.
The tests revealed Jason and Krista Dechant’s new baby boy had several heart defects, including pulmonary artery and aortic stenosis, or narrowing.
The baby was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome shortly afterwards, as those two specific defects occurring together often are linked to the rare developmental disorder, Krista Dechant said.
The disorder causes a “spontaneous deletion” of genes on the seventh chromosome, she said, which can be linked to heart issues, kidney issues and developmental delays.
“For him, so far, we’re doing therapy through Hays Area Children’s Center, and they’ve been great. He’s doing great on everything,” Krista said. “He’s going to probably crawl anytime — in a month or so, I’d guess, which is great. We’re really thankful that all of that is going really well so far.”
Despite all of the unexpected challenges, she is quick to say her son has brought their family great joy. Another silver lining, she said, has been an outpouring of support throughout the Hays community.
“It’s a total perk and benefit of living in a small, tight-knit community,” Krista said.
Golden Plains Credit Union, 2720 Broadway, will host a bake sale to benefit Kaizer’s medical expenses Friday. Goods can be purchased between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and residents also are welcome to donate baked items and treats to sell, said Ruth Ruder with the credit union.
Donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday or beginning at 8 a.m. Friday prior to the sale. Financial donations also can be made to the credit union in Kaizer's name.
“We are so thankful for everybody — just the support and prayers, and Golden Plains doing this for us,” Krista said. “They approached us about it and just wanted to do this for us; we didn’t ask. So many people have come up to us and said they’re praying for him or making something to bring to the bake sale.”
The family ultimately was referred to a pediatric cardiologist in Stanford, Calif., as few programs nationwide specialize in Williams Syndrome, said Krista, who also is a registered nurse. They also travel regularly to Kansas City for care, as Kaizer must be monitored by specialists every six weeks.
The Dechants returned home in January after a check-up in California, which also revealed Kaizer has coronary artery stenosis, which could increase heart attack risk. It’s likely heart surgery will be required in the future, though doctors want to wait as long as possible because Kaizer’s heart is so small, Krista said, noting the use of anesthesia also is considered risky in children with Williams Syndrome. That’s why it’s necessary to continue specialized care in California, she said.
The travel and medical expenses add up quickly at a time when parents must miss work for the frequent appointments. The Hays couple also has a 12-year-old son, Braxton.
“We’re dealing with it and doing the best we can,” she said. “He really has been such a joy to us. He’s a happy little dude. It’s been overwhelming, but we’re just learning to take it day-by-day and give him the best life he can have.”