Tara and Al Scholting spend quality family time with kids Jacob and Andrew.
In a few short hours a Sioux Falls family will head to Omaha for a life altering, but scary operation and it won't be the first one. As Nancy Naeve Brown tells us, an 11 year old boy is about to undergo this 3rd open heart surgery.
The Scholtings love family time. Lately Tara and Al's oldest son Jacob has had to forgo Taekwondo and football in the front yard with dad and little brother Andrew because his heart, like the board game they're playing, is giving him trouble.
"Realizing more when I go to the pool I couldn't stay under water as much as I could two months ago, "Jacob said.
"It took a toll on him. His lips were turning blue again. He can't keep up with children in gym class or on the playground. He was having pain in his chest, "Jacob's mom Tara said.
Jacob has pulmonary atresia. He was born without a heart valve and holes in his heart.
"When he as 6 days old he had first open heart surgery. They put GOR-TEX material in to act like a valve as a shunt. 6 months later he had a porcine pig valve put in." Mom Tara said.
Since neither hospital in Sioux Falls offers open heart surgery for babies or children, Jacob had his surgeries at Omaha Children's Hospital and a local TV station documented it. With 2 surgeries under his belt and the scars to prove it, the 11 year old is going back under the knife on Friday. His pig valve is leaking so surgeons will replace it with either a cow valve or a human valve. This surgery is different because Jacob is old enough to remember it and will have to deal with the pain of recovery.
"We have a good surgeon. Jacob is so strong willed in his faith, our whole family is. Tons of people are praying for him. I believe in the power of prayer. I know it will all turn out okay, it's just scary, "Tara said.
"I know I'll feel better. They'll fix it. I'll be just like the other kids. Right now I'm pretty fast I can just imagine what I'll do once I'm healed," Jacob said.
With a new and improved valve he may be able to keep up with his friends, but he is already well beyond his years. Although he wasn't born with one, he's certainly developed the heart of a champion and a fighter.
Tara's employers at Year Round Brown set up a fund at First Premier Bank if you want to help defer some of the huge medical costs insurance doesn't cover. There's also a website set up in his honor: www.jacobscholting.com or www.CaringBridge.org Give Forward or drop off donations at First Premier Bank: The Jacob Scholting Account.
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