ROGERS PARK — Marshall and Desiree Owen got the news at the 20-week ultrasound.
Their unborn son had a rare combination of heart defects, including two holes in the heart wall and a double aortic arch. After birth, open-heart surgery would be needed, doctors told them.
"Everything was extremely scary," said Desiree Owen, 31, inside the family's Rogers Park home. "I decided he needed the most calm environment as possible" while in the womb.
Eight months after Miles was born without complications, he underwent open heart surgery at Lurie Children's Hospital.
The surgery took six hours and was successful.
Mother Desiree Owen with son Miles after he underwent open-heart surgery. [Provided]
"Now, he's pretty stress-free," Desiree Owen said, as her 15-month-old son played with a few toys, sharing them with his parents and their house guest.
After the experience, the Owen family now wants to give back and raise money for families who can't pay for surgeries like the one that saved Miles' life. Thankfully, 30-year-old Marshall Owen said, his company's insurance covered everything.
He said he would be running with his sister and a dozen others in the May 17 Move for the Kids 5K Walk/Run at Soldier Field.
"What does someone do who doesn't have insurance or the money to pay for it?" he said.
They hope to raise as much as $6,000 for Lurie Children's.
The Owens expect Miles to live a normal life, but he will see specialists every six months for at least five years. He may not be able to play contact sports.
"Which is fine because anyone who knows me knows that my kid probably isn't going be the best athlete," Marshall Owen said.
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