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George’s Story

Feel The FORCE

On Sept 20, 2012 George had surgery in Philadelphia to correct a rare and complex congenital heart defect. After 8 months in the ICU and countless complications including loss of some of his extremities, George was able to come home and enjoy the summer with his family and friends who love him so dearly. Despite his physical challenges and a heart that wouldn't fully recover, George's strength, bravery, unshakable faith and compassion for others inspired all who met him. George went home to the Lord peacefully Saturday, August 31, 2013 while sleeping at the cabin, after teaching us that with faith, hope, love and a little humor we can overcome any obstacle. George loves fishing, golfing, playing hockey, building Legos, and is a Star Wars enthusiast. Darth Vader said it best, "The Force is strong with this one."  

Rest in Peace, Little Jedi

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be.  
                                                         Psalm 139:16

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
                                                         Luke 18:16-17

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.                                                  2 Timothy 4:7


From October 2012:

George had open heart surgery on September 20th at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to correct a congenital heart defect, L transposition of the great arteries (LTGA) with double outlet right ventricle (DORV). It was a very complex surgery (Senning and Rastelli double switch) that started out well; however, complications began when they could not get him off bypass and had to put him on ECMO, a machine which performs the heart function while the heart recuperates.  They were able to get him off ECMO 5 days later but he has had one complication after another since that time.  As of now, they are trying to get him extubated for the third time, which has been a balancing act of eliminating fluids so lungs quit collapsing while keeping enough fluid for kidneys to function.  He has also been battling EAT, an arrhythmia that is not uncommon with this type of operation. He has suffered damage (similar to a frostbite) to his extremities due to poor perfusion when on ECMO.  A plastic surgeon and orthopedic surgeon are waiting to see what regeneration occurs and will determine what steps to take for George to have maximum use of his hands and feet.  This has obviously been a very difficult time; however, we have learned to take it day by day, rely fully on our faith, and lean on the love and the prayers of our friends and family.  Words cannot express how blessed we feel to have so much outpouring of support from all of you! 

Latest Journal Update

George "Lego-strom"

Thank you for all the ways you have shown your love to our family over the past few weeks. Our yard was decorated so beautifully on George's birthday with all the orange balloons and George's resting place was covered with orange flowers, balloons and treats. We celebrated George's life with our family and enjoyed a couple of his favorites: a Chipotle bar and a DQ cake. We got through the anniversaries of his ascension and his celebration of life service; thank you again for all the beautiful words and gestures of support. 
While we know George's bulldog is quite a character, UHCCF has taken it a step further and included him in the new Oliver and Hope children's book and you can purchase it and your very own Chewie plush toy (and it won't even eat your furniture like the real Chewie!):

The Blake Lower School recently installed the beautiful memorial portrait of George made from Legos. When we delivered the portrait we visited his memorial butterfly garden and were greeted by a most vibrantly orange and extremely friendly monarch...hmmm
The school shared some of the children's comments upon seeing George's memorial:
"Wow, that's so awesome"
"I miss George, he was so cool"
"I can't believe that's made out of Legos"
"The picture is amazing, just like George was"
"Cool shadows"
"I think of George when I use orange in my art"
"I wish I could have met him"
"That looks exactly like George"
"It's the George Legostrom picture"
"Is that really made out of Legos"?
"It makes me remember him"
"It reminds me of George, but then, I never forgot him"
"I think it is very well made and helps us to think about George"
"Are those real Legos"?
"Oh Boy, that really looks like him, the eyes, face and hair"
"Oh Look! It's George"

As we come upon the two year anniversary of George's surgery, we reflect on the wild journey it has been with much sadness but also with much hope and even some smiles. In closing I'll share a couple of great George quotes:
"My favorite number is 8 because it looks like 2 donuts on top of each other"
Getting in Stu the barber's chair "I'll have the usually"
After lines had formed to have him sign classmates' yearbooks last spring "I'm so famous"
Passing by Basilica on way to U of M, "Is that where Jack got hypnotized?" 
After a good night's sleep "Do I look bigger? I think I was growing all night"
Classic George when he didn't get his way: "Fine", "Geez", "Geez my wheeze"
When our friend forgot his glasses at home George said "Don't worry, sometimes I forget my hand"
First time back to church out of hospital "Mom, everyone was looking at me"...before I could come up with good answer he said "Guess they wish they had my long eyelashes"
And the best George quote that our sitter Allie recently shared with me from riding in the car last summer "I cannot wait to see my grandpa in heaven someday"

"Truly wonderful the mind of a child is" - Yoda