Tuesday, May 26, 2020
TEAM GEORGE Formed to Support 11-Year-Old
Saturday, May 4, 2019


George Heath is 11, a fan of Dungeons and Dragons and a friend to his dog and cats.

But this week he found himself in intensive care at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise battling a rare form of meningitis and encephalitis.

He stopped breathing and had to be intubated at one point.  But currently he is in stable condition with tubes inserted to reduce the pressure in his brain.

Heath is the son of Monty and Kessy Heath. And, as a Navy SEAL for more than a decade, Monty is a firm believer in teams.

That’s why this Afghanistan veteran has formed TEAM GEORGE to enlist friends, family and well-wishers in sending prayers, positive thoughts and supportive messages to little George and his family. Supporters can also make donations at a gofundme account.

TEAM GEORGE believes that George will not only make it but recover fully.

“But we also know that it will take a lot,” the family said in a statement. “It will take a lot of long days and endless nights, a lot of faith, hope and love, a willingness to stay strong when things appear to be at their worst, and it will take a tremendous amount of time and effort. It will also take a TEAM.”

Having to receive medical attention in Boise has put tremendous strain on the Heath family since Monty has had to be away from his job as director of military programs for the nonprofit Higher Ground Sun Valley. It’s also meant the additional expense of food, lodging, gas, pet care and other expenses.

The gofundme account has raised $53,419 of a $75,000 goal in two days, thanks to the contributions of 372 people. Those wishing to make a donation can visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-george-heath-join-team-george?sharetype=teams&member=2152732&utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&rcid=1bfc989bd3e64c80b3a2f346c1a9ce5f.

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, while encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain itself. Symptoms of encephalitis include loss of consciousness, seizures and muscle weakness.

They’re typically caused by bacterial or viral infections.

Brain injuries are a waiting game. But Kessy Heath said on Thursday that the family was feeling optimistic.

“George’s neurological exams were better yesterday than the day before and he continued to cough last night, which means he’s clearing his lungs and that can only be a good thing,” she wrote.

Doctors are trying to get his intracranial pressure, or swelling in the brain, down so they can take him off machines.

“I know he’s in there,” Kessy added. “He responds to my voice with tears sometimes. I’ve seen small responsive behavior that only a momma could know. But, beyond that, the doctors are optimistic that things are moving in the right direction.”

In the meantime, Kessy said, she and her family are floored by the outpouring of support.

“Monty and I can’t imagine what it would be like for some families who don’t have this. No family should ever have to go through this alone.”


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