Will BurtonMost of us will never have to be transported by helicopter ambulance, so imagine how Robert and Angie Burton of Bryan, Ohio felt when their newborn son had two life flights within hours of his birth. Born not breathing, William Denver Burton was flown to a hospital in Toledo first. A tracheotomy was performed, but when doctors suspected more had to be done to relieve swelling and mucous in the infant’s lungs, he was placed in ice packs to lower his body temperature. Will was then flown to the University of Michigan’s hospital in an attempt to save his life. He survived, but he suffered some consequences.

Hypoxia” is the medical term which describes a lack of oxygen delivered to the vital organs, and after several months at home, it became obvious to Will’s parents that his hypoxia condition at birth had caused some brain damage and developmental delays. Robert, a salesman at Maxton Motors in Montpelier, and Angie, a clinical manager at Four County Family Center, felt overwhelmed. How were they going to help their son? They found the answer to that question in Wauseon, Ohio.

Sara’s Garden, located at 620 West Leggett in Wauseon, offered answers and hope to the Burtons. Sara’s Garden is a non-profit organization that specializes in Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), and Conductive Education. Considered as a supplemental treatment for traditional therapies, HBOT uses 100% oxygen under pressure. The oxygen is delivered through a hood the patient wears while resting in a pressurized chamber which mimics the amount of pressure anywhere from 17 to 45 feet below sea level. HBOT treatments are sometimes referred to as “a dive” since the patient is treated in an atmosphere equal to below sea level while receiving almost five times the normal amount of oxygen. The general goal of the treatment is to provide oxygen deep into the deprived tissue of a patient, but according to the Sara’s Garden website, almost twenty different benefits result from HBOT. The Burtons have witnessed the benefits in their son.

Sara's Garden Logo

Angie remembers how Will could not even support his head at a year old, yet now after seven rounds of HBOT, the six year old can stand and walk with the aid of a walker. His strength and agility have increased so much that recently he set another personal milestone: without his walker and without the aid of anyone’s helping hands, Will walked independently for 96 consecutive steps. Angie credits the HBOT from Sara’s Garden and the Conductive Education Will received. Mrs. Burton explains CE “combines physical, occupational, and speech” training into one class. Because of these classes, Will feeds himself, plays with his four year old brother Henry, and communicates with those around him. His skill level has increased so dramatically that he no longer receives CE. Instead, he has been enrolled into first grade at Washington Elementary School in the Bryan school district. At school, teachers report Will has become “a social butterfly” who speaks in simple sentences and short compound sentences. For a child who recently had a vocabulary of 25 words, this is amazing. The Burtons have seen vast improvements in their son’s development, and they hope to see more.

But they need help.

On Saturday, October 5, the family will be holding the Fifth Annual Walk for Will’s Sake, and you can help.Walk for Will's Sake

This walk will help pay for another round of HBOT. Unfortunately, insurance will not cover the cost of about $4500 (or 40 treatments of $110 per dive). That is roughly the amount that was raised by the first Walk for Will’s Sake, yet each year, donations have dwindled. “This year we have the goal to beat the amount we raised the first year,” Angie said in a recent interview. To meet this goal, Angie needs some help. Angie appreciates all the help her boss Kathy Helmke has given for this annual event, but she would also like to recognize the aid of Tiffany Heller, one of Will’s teachers at Washington Elementary School. “Tiffany Heller has spearheaded the effort this year,” Angie said.

Now, Angie is asking for everyone’s help.

We, at Hit Trophy, are happy to step up to help out the Burton family, and here is how we all can assist them. The family is asking everyone to go out and collect donations for Will. On the day of the event, October 5, bring your donations to the Bryan Recreation Park. The Walk for Will’s Sake will begin at the JC Pavilion. Registration for the one mile walk begins at 9 a.m. Anyone collecting $35 or more will receive a T-shirt, but all amounts will be gladly accepted. The walk starts at 10 a.m. and will finish back at the starting point. For more information on this event be sure to visit their Walk For Will’s Sake Facebook page by clicking this link.

Please help William take 100 independent steps in the future by collecting donations and walking a mile for Will’s sake on October 5. To learn more about HBOT, visit www.sarasgarden.org or call (419) 335-7272. Thank you.