Bonners face struggle with youngest son's health
May 4 2001 by Craig Bird , BR Correspondent

Bonners face struggle with youngest son's health | Friday, May 4, 2001

Friday, May 4, 2001

Bonners face struggle with youngest son's health

By Craig Bird BR Correspondent From birth, Benjamin was a "difficult" baby. Unlike his personable and cheerful brother and sister he slept poorly and cried often. He had his reasons. Because he came into the world in a difficult situation. His parents, Randy and Michelle Bonner, moved to Spruce Pine just months before he was due, leaving a comfortable home and job in Pell City, Ala. to follow a call to start churches along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains - with no regular income.

Born while his family still lived in a government housing project where the first church was started, he must have felt, in the womb, his mom's concern for her children in a place where nights were punctuated by flashing police lights and days by Department of Social Service workers investigating allegations of child abuse.

So the medical explanations that he suffered from colic seemed logical - until last February when a doctor looked up from a sheaf of reports and solemnly informed Michelle, "Benjamin's aorta is almost completely blocked. His blood pressure is dangerously low below his heart and dangerously high above it. We can barely find a pulse in his legs. He has to have surgery. Now."

In a daze, Michelle made the 90 minute drive home, praying for comfort, strength and understanding.

Back in Spruce Pine members of the three churches and Bible study Randy had started over the past year-and-a-half rallied around the young family. "I guess they brought all of our meals for 10 straight days and were always with us at the hospital holding us up and praying for us," Randy said. "Most of them were brand new Christians or believers who had been out of church until recently."

One member paid for three days in a motel in Johnson City, Tenn. for the couple's parents. Others got together and decided to take over the family's medical insurance payments when his coverage from his Alabama church staff job ran out.

And Benjamin battled. In early March he fought a respiratory infection that delayed the heart surgery for several days, then got through the intricate procedure that took four hours.

Back home he contracted pneumonia and other infections. Finally in early April, another ultrasound revealed four more blockages and a small hole in another part of his heart.

"I've never seen a baby with such severe restrictions live as long as he has," the doctor told Michelle during one check-up. "He is one very strong little boy."

"Yes," Michelle agreed, adding to herself, "and he is loved and watched over by a very strong God.

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5/4/2001 12:00:00 AM by Craig Bird , BR Correspondent | with 0 comments
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