Posted: May 19, 2013 4:54 PM by Jamie Leary
BELGRADE - It's hard to imagine a child whose life is at risk before even being born, but that's the case for the child of an expecting Belgrade couple.
Tucker Volkman is due in June and has two potentially fatal conditions. The life-saving surgery Tucker needs will set the Volkman family back hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Pam Volkman is a Spanish education teacher. Her husband, Travis, is an industrial technologies teacher.
"It seemed like I was on track and so until that ultrasound and the specialist when he started explaining it and it's like, ‘Whoa!'" said Pam Volkman.
When Pam was 21 1/2 weeks pregnant with Tucker, doctors discovered that Tucker had underdeveloped heart in addition to a condition called Situs Inversus.
"The stomach and the liver are flip-flopped. They're on the wrong side of the body. The big issue is with the heart; it's actually located on the right hand side. It has one bottom chamber that both of the major arteries come out of the same chamber," Travis Volkman explained.
The Volkmans hosted a fundraiser to help cover some of the anticipated costs. After he is born, Tucker will be in the Seattle hospital for at least six weeks.
"I'm just trying to figure out," Pam said. "I have everything here, you know, our house and our animals and our life. We just kind of have to uproot for the next two months, three months. We don't know."
Tucker will need heart surgery right away. Doctors are confident he will survive but say he will be dealing with heart issues his entire life.
"It's a long-term situation. Basically, they told us, don't look for him to be the track star of all track stars, ya know. He's not going to run the 5-5 in 4 flat, ya know," Travis said.
The Volkams are bracing for the long-term issues Tucker will face as well as the long term costs.
"I mean, it's one of those things," Travis said. "It's always going to be a doctor bill."
A benefit fund has been set up at First Montana Bank in Bozeman. You can also visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/TuckerVolkmansJourney. You can also follow Pam on her blog at tuckersjourney.wordpress.com.
Tucker is due on June 13.The Volkmans are head to Seattle this coming Thursday in case Pam delivers early.