Fundraiser started for firefighter’s son, who’s been hospitalized 2 months


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Baby Oliver was born April 17 weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces.

James Wheeler says it wasn’t an easy pregnancy for his wife Lisa.

“Leading up to his birth, we were already having some issues with mom Lisa here, she was pretty much going into kidney and liver failure,” he said.

Doctors were also monitoring something that didn’t seem right with Oliver.

They saw fluid in his stomach area.

They drained the fluid from Oliver when he was born, and his weight dropped from 8 pounds, 6 ounces to 7 pounds, 9 ounces.

And after multiple blood tests and X-rays, Oliver was rushed into surgery.

“At 2 o’clock in the morning we got a phone call that he needed emergency surgery, he had a hole in his bowel,” James Wheeler said.

Oliver has been in the hospital for about two months, and had surgery to fix his bowel.

While he is getting better, the bills are still piling up for this young family.

“Just for him to be in the NICU without medicine, without medical interventions, we’re looking at roughly a thousand dollars a day,” he said.

James says his insurance covered 50 days in the hospital.

June 5 marked the 50th day.

A fundraiser was started and the community quickly stepped in to help.

“It blows my mind about how many people are really there for you, you don’t realize it, the love and support,” said his wife Lisa.

Wheeler is a firefighter at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. He says his fellow firefighters helped even more.

“My lieutenant at my fire station at the shipyard, Lt. Welsh, who is also the president of the firefighter union, he offered to donate money towards Oliver’s cause. They were matching the family’s original goal.

The next goal, to get Oliver home.

“The second I got home, I lost it cause you have a baby, and you feel like you should be home with your baby, but I got home and there was nobody there,” Lisa said.

The Wheelers say the love and support from the community has been tremendous in helping get through the tough times.

If you would like to help the Wheeler family, click here.

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