How An Infant Inspired the World Around Him
Holton Cam Weingrad was born on October 1, 2014. In spite of being born five weeks premature and spending six days in the NICU, Holt came home perfectly healthy to his parents, Eric and Angela, and big sister Stella. For the Weingrads the addition of Holt made their family complete.
It was Friday, December 19, 2014, eleven weeks after the birth of little Holt. Although the Weingrads didn't know it at the time, their lives were about to drastically change forever.
It was around 11:45 in the morning and Angela had just finished breastfeeding her seemingly very thirsty newborn. Little Holt fell asleep in his mommy's arms so she gently handed him over to the family's nanny, who had been watching over their daughter for the previous year and a half. Angela and Eric quietly snuck out to run one final errand before their two-week holiday staycation: they needed to return one of Holton's PJ outfits and buy their nanny some Christmas gifts before she began her two-week paid vacation.
About forty minutes after leaving their perfectly content and well-fed infant in the arms of their once-trusted caretaker, the Weingrads received the worst call imaginable. Holton was being rushed to the hospital because he had stopped breathing. That’s all they were told – and not by the nanny.
When they arrived at the ER they found Holton in pain and suffering seizures from a cracked skull. His eyes were rolled back and he was making strange guttural sounds. It was horrifying. His seizures were so unrelenting, eleven-week-old Holton was placed in a medically induced coma for the next three weeks until the seizures were finally brought under control.
The family spent months in and out of the hospital as Holton had suffered both a traumatic and anoxic brain injury that day. The cause of his injury remains a mystery since the case is still working its way through the court system, but the Weingrads have little doubt that the nanny fabricated her version of events that led to their son's severe head trauma. Of the many different versions of the story she told over time, Holton's doctors determined that none properly explained his severe injuries. At this point, the only truth that matters is – whatever she did – she destroyed this poor boy and his family in mere minutes.
At fourteen months of age Holton has not reached any of the typical milestones such as sitting up, grabbing or crawling. Even tracking an object with his eyes is something he struggles with due to the damage to his visual cortex. Recently, surgeons implanted a feeding tube so Holt can keep his weight up as he struggled with latching and eating properly. Even though doctors were able to stop his seizures initially, they have since returned and occur between three and ten times a day.
Life is hard for Holton and his family but he’s showing improvement. Holt's parents learned that his progress cannot simply be measured against other kids his age as he’s on his own course with the same end goal. Even with all the odds stacked against little Holt his parents are hopeful, proud and most importantly, happy. They will not let their son’s disability define him – or them.
After not breathing for an unknown amount of time, Holton deserves to be praised for his sheer will to live and uncompromisable inner strength – and that’s exactly what the Holton's Heroes charity will do in perpetuity.
Holton's story is just beginning. He's already inspired thousands of people during his short time on this planet. What started as a Facebook page designed to update family and friends about Holt's condition became a movement. People have become connected and invested in his recovery. They have fallen in love with someone who could easily be their son, or nephew or grandchild.
And it is with that attitude and spirit that Holton's Heroes was created. As Holton and his family do their best to overcome their son's brain injury, they want to help other families that are dealing with the same daily struggles. They realize the only reason they are still moving forward today is because of the support and love they've received from thousands of complete strangers.
It's time to pass that on. It's time to be incredible.