The Cain Family's Inspiring Patient Story
Two Parents with a Passion to Make a Difference
Natalie and I had been married for a little over a year when we were blessed with our first child, a little girl named Olivia Joy. Not soon after we were surprised to find out that we were expecting our next child only 18 months from the first one that would be a little boy. We were so exited for what was to come, Natalie had a great pregnancy and a great delivery.
On March 5, 2012 Wells McRae Cain was born at Cape Fear Valley Medical. Soon after his birth we had a doctor come to the room and said "I need to talk to you about your baby." I will never forger those words for the rest of my life. Wells had been born with a congenital heart defect. Wells was born with three instead of four heart chambers and they all mixed together. He was also born without a pulmonary artery which pumps blood to your lungs.
Wells was moved straight to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) where we met with the NICU doctorr and the Duke Cardiologist who told us that Wells was headed to Duke. He was airlifted that night to Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina while Natalie and I were still at Cape Fear Valley Hospital in Fayetteville, North Carolina. We headed to Duke the next morning to meet with the team of doctors. They informed us that Wells was to have open heart surgery the next week at one week of age to install a tube that would allow his heart to pump oxygen to his lungs. They also told us they couldn't fix his heart with one surgery, and that he would have multiple surgeries as he grew older and as his heart became larger.
While in Durham we were fortunate enough to stay at the Ronald McDonald House (RMDH). The love and support that surrounds that place is amazing. Both my mother and Natalie's mother were able to stay with us there which was a blessing because we were able to have our 18-month old daughter, Olivia there with us to keep us strong.
While we were in Durham our friends back home planned a golf tournament to raise money for us. In just two weeks, they were able to raise $15,000 for us to help with medical bills. Wells came out of surgery like a champ, and we were able to come home after two weeks of being at Duke. We were sent home with tons of medicine and medical supplies. We had to see his pediatrician and his cardiologist weekly to keep up with his progress. The visits were never promising. They told us they could never completely fix his heart, but they could try to make it work for him.
On May 14, 2012 Wells was called home to be with the Lord. During his time here, and his passing we were surrounded by friends and family who lifted us up in prayers and support. There was such a peace about it all. A few months after his passing one of our good friends who had helped organize the golf tournament asked us if we thought it would be a good idea to continue the tournament, and if so where would we like to give the money. Natalie and I thought that was a wonderful idea, and the first thing that came to mind was the Ronald McDonald House of Durham.
We decided to plan the tournament to be around Wells birthday during the first part of March. We started planning the first part of that following year and the support was incredible. We raised over $18,000 our fist year, and with that large donation we were able to name the room we had stayed in at the house after Wells. What an awesome way to remember him! We have had the tournament every year since, in the beginning of March around his birthday, and the participation and support has been incredible.
In four years of this tournament we have raised over $95,000 for the RMDH of Durham. Its amazing to me because 90% of the people that come out that day, never even met Wells, yet take the time to come out and contribute to a cause that is so worthy. Its also a great way to remember him by. Some people are hesitant to ask about him or are apologetic for our loss, but we don't think that way, because we don't want people to forget about him.
He is with his heavenly Father who is taking better care of him than we ever could; we just can't wait to see him one day. When we take the money to the house, all of us that help with the tournament go and prepare dinner for the families that are staying there at the time. It's nice to go and talk with the families who have sick children at the hospital because you know exactly what they are going through, and can give them words of encouragement.
The Wells McRae Cain Memorial Tournament is a great example of what can happen when people come together and put their heart in something, great things happen.