Ryan Anthony Sorensen has been through more in his young life than most people ever will.
Dick Klancher of Tidioute said his grandson weighed just 15 ounces at birth. A Caesarean Section was required to save the life of his mother, Stacy Klancher Sorensen.
On March 21, Dick Klancher said Stacy Sorensen was on a business trip in Mississippi when she started having serious discomfort. She was almost 24 weeks pregnant at that point, he said, and doctors determined she and her unborn child needed specialized care at Women's and Children's Hospital in Mobile, Ala.
Ryan Anthony Sorensen is in a fight for his life.
Upon arrival, Klancher said the staff quickly decided the Caesarean Section was needed or Stacy Sorensen could die along with her child. Tom Sorensen, her husband, had to handle the news, book the first possible flight from Raleigh, N.C. near their suburban home in Apex, N.C. and start a series of phone calls to Klancher and his wife Mary back in Tidioute.
"The news was getting worse," Klancher said. "Tom had even been told there might be a need to 'start making plans.'"
Fortunately, Klancher said things worked out. Ryan Sorensen was successfully delivered, he said, and almost immediately Stacy Sorensen began to improve, although she faced several days in the maternity intensive-care unit.
In the neonatal intensive care-unit, Klancher said Ryan Sorensen took up residence. He was hooked up to two separate ventilators, many other tubes and a bank of monitors, but most importantly he was hanging in there.
However, Klancher said within two days doctors first detected in Ryan Sorensen what they later diagnosed as hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling. Any thought of transferring the mother and child to Duke University's Medical Center in their Raleigh-Durham home base was out of the question, he said.
According to Klancher, two months of gut-wrenching ups and downs followed. At birth, he said Ryan Sorensen was no longer than his mother's wallet and was having trouble gaining weight since then.
Breathing was a constant concern, as were heart rate, body temperature and the constant threat of infection. Finally, Klancher said in mid-May Ryan's lead doctor approved a transfer for the young family to Duke and home.
"That word 'home' never sounded so good to Stacy, but yet another snag developed," Klancher said.
Their insurance company decided it "wasn't medically necessary" to transfer Ryan from Alabama to North Carolina, Klancher said. However, doctors at both Duke and Mobile were in agreement, he said, the transfer would be best for the family.
For Tom Sorensen and Stacy Sorensen, Klancher said it was another plunge downhill on their emotional roller-coaster. However, he said help was on the way as word of their plight spread through family and friends.
A series of fund-raisers helped the Sorensens, Klancher said, including one 11-year-old girl in Apex who sold lemonade. Her door-to-door efforts garnered almost $150.
Due to Ryan's delicate condition, a specially equipped plane staffed with healthcare personnel was required for the transfer. Also, the bill had to be paid in advance and came to $11,000.
The Sorensens had to borrow the money, Klancher said, and are now trying to pay it back. Stacy Sorensen has recovered physically, but the ordeal has been emotionally draining.
Each day, Klancher said the parents go and see their son. They have to try to keep working at the same time, he said, which made it important for them to be back in Raleigh.
"God was on their side," he said. "Throughout this ordeal, people at our church and others have been praying their knees off and it's working. Even so, there are still debts to be settled, and we have no idea what the future holds especially after the transfer fiasco."
Seemingly every time they turn around, Ryan has another problem. The last report wasn't good, Klancher said, and the next couple weeks will be critical.
Trinity Church Episcopal Churc at the corner of Poplar Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Warren will stage a benefit spaghetti dinner, Dick Klancher said, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 8. Several local cooks have agreed to provide meatballs, he said, and Fan Fry who is a friend of the family and a well-known food critic has agreed to judge them.
The public can sample from the competing entries, Klancher said, and also enjoy the pasta. They can enter to win one of many gift baskets and most importantly help raise money for Ryan Sorensen.
"This whole thing is telling us so much about the basic goodness of people," Mary Klancher said. "Maybe sometimes the system is flawed, but people and prayer can really set things right."
More information is available by calling the Trinity Church, at 723-9360.