Yellowknife couple overwhelmed by support after baby born missing 1 heart valve

Yellowknife residents rally around TaraLee Wedzin and her partner, who are new parents to a baby born with three heart valves, instead of four.

Baby Jackson, at only 4 months old, has already had 2 surgeries

TaraLee Wedzin, 24, and her partner Clyde Elias regularly fly to Edmonton for medical treatment for their new son, Jackson. (Submitted by TaraLee Wedzin)

TaraLee Wedzin was 12 weeks pregnant when doctors gave her the news — her baby was going to be born missing a heart valve.

Doctors discovered the Yellowknife resident's unborn son had only three heart chambers, meaning he would have trouble later in life and would ultimately need multiple surgeries.

With the discovery, she and her partner, Clyde Elias, began travelling between Yellowknife and Edmonton for medical treatment throughout her pregnancy to make sure the baby was alright.

Baby Jackson was born on Nov. 3, five weeks early. He's now four months old, and has already had two surgeries in less than two months. His parents are still waiting to find out if he'll need to undergo a third.

"It gives you anxiety," said Wedzin.

"It's really scary honestly, not knowing what's going to happen next, and just having to be patient. All we really want is just my little boy back home with us."

Wedzin said it breaks her heart to see her baby in hospital, connected to tubes.

Other stress related to caring for their child is piling up — with constant flights to Edmonton, Wedzin and her partner haven't been able to work in a year. They say they're struggle even to buy toiletries.

Wedzin's partner has even considered looking for work in Edmonton while the couple waits to find out what's next for their son.

Now, a family friend has started a GoFundMe page to help the couple. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised more than $3,500.

"Honestly it's so overwhelming and it's hard to believe there's so many people, especially people of Yellowknife who care so much," she said.

A silent auction is scheduled for Friday at Sam's Monkey Tree Pub in Yellowknife, with proceeds going to help pay the couple's expenses.