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Seattle Seahawks Deaf Player Derrick Coleman Inspires Family – A Story of Hope

A couple of week’s ago I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and saw that The Mister had shared someone’s status update. It caught my attention, and I started reading. It was a letter that a mother had written to the Seattle Seahawks, to tell them how much the new Duracell ad featuring Derrick Coleman has inspired their son. The more I read, the more tears I got in my eyes – compassion for all that they’ve been through, memories of my own complicated pregnancy and then the scare when Abby was born, and the beautifully inspiring message she’d written. I had noticed that she was from the same city I live in, but assumed that The Mister had just shared it because he’s a huge Seahawks fan. When I mentioned to him how moving her post was, he told me that he knew her husband. We live in a pretty big city, but it’s always a small world, right? So I reached out to her, to ask if I could share her story, and her message, since it’s amazing. What follows is her family’s story in her own words, pictures, and video. Big thank you to Nicole and Jeff Wilkinson for sharing this. Grab a handful of tissue before you continue reading it, you’ll need it….

My son Samuel, is a true miracle, he is the greatest gift I have ever received. Doctors determined early in my pregnancy with him that something was abnormal. He was not growing at a normal rate and he consistently measured small. We saw many doctors and specialists in our hometown of Yakima, WA and also at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington. After many tests and scans they diagnosed him with a lethal form of skeletal dysplasia. Skeletal dysplasias are a complex group of bone and cartilage disorders that can affect the fetal skeleton as it develops in utero. The most common form of skeletal dysplasia is dwarfism, but there are approximately 300 different forms and a few types are lethal (meaning the child would be stillborn or die shortly after birth). It was explained to us that Sam’s long bones (arms and legs) were not growing, there was fluid around his heart and his chest circumference was below the 1st percentile. With the chest cavity being so small, it meant he would not have enough space to house fully developed lungs and a healthy heart.

Our baby would not be able to breathe on his own in order to sustain his own life.

After months of waiting and knowing that our baby was expected to die, Samuel Ross Wilkinson was born August 27th, 2008 in a scheduled C-section. All of the medical staff were briefed with his diagnosis and circumstances and the doctors estimated he would live anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes. The plan was to surgically remove the baby, clean him off and wrap him in a special blanket that we brought from home. My husband and I were to be able to hold him for however long we wanted. We had people flying into town a few days after the scheduled birth date because we were planning for a funeral.

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