By CHRIS COLLINS
Of the Baker City Herald
Six-year-old Brynn Haun has a newfound sense of freedom since returning from a visit to the Denver Children's Hospital this fall.
Thanks to new medication and treatment received at the Colorado hospital, Brynn is now able to function without the constant oxygen supply she's been on since birth. And she's stretching her 3-foot frame to its tallest without the burden of a 10-pound oxygen pack on her back.
Brynn was born with primary pulmonary hypertension, a rare condition that occurs when blood pressure in the pulmonary artery is too high. In the hope of improving her health and eliminating the need for her to pack oxygen, she and her family traveled to the Denver hospital this summer.
Since returning from the October trip, Brynn is able to attend school without her backpack and is only required to use the oxygen at night.
Although most of the expense of the hospital evaluation and treatment was paid by the Oregon Health Plan, the Hauns had no other coverage to help pay for the expenses of the trip that has changed the little girl's life.
The trip became a reality through community contributions to several of the family's fund-raising projects this summer.
andquot;I want to thank everybody for all the amazing support,andquot; said Lissa Haun, Brynn's mother. andquot;Thoughts and prayers also helped. That was amazing.andquot;
With the help of the community, the family raised most of the nearly $3,000 needed for travel expenses and room and board during their stay in Denver, Lissa said.
The summer fund-raisers included selling snow cones at Albertsons and during the Farmer's Market where Lissa also sold beaded bracelets, balloons and offered face painting; auctioning off a registered lab puppy donated to the family by Hyline Kennels in Ontario; and collecting donations in cans placed throughout the community and in a bank account established at Klamath First.
Three of the cans were stolen, but Lissa said she and her family refused to allow the thefts to dampen their spirits.
andquot;Apparently they needed it more than we did,andquot; she said.
In addition to Lissa and Brynn, the Haun family includes dad, David, and brothers, Ryan and Adam.
They will return to Denver next summer for a check-up, unless treatment can be provided in Boise, and plans already are being made for more fund-raisers. A horse was donated to the family this summer to raise money through a raffle or auction, Lissa said.
Meanwhile, the 38-pound first-grader is experiencing more freedom and causing less concern to the adults around her as she plays on the equipment at school without the threat of disaster looming. While carrying the oxygen tank she had to be wary of the tubes becoming entangled or the tank getting caught as she played on the slide or traveled through the monkey bars. And any stumble would result in the tank and gauge slamming into her as she fell.
But without the oxygen tank on her back, Brynn is looking forward to participating in sports, Lissa said. She's especially interested in soccer and swimming. She's also eager to study ballet, hop on carnival rides and spend the night with girlfriends.
Those things weren't always possible because of the requirements of her illness. Her trip to Denver has changed that.
andquot;She seems to have a new sparkle in her eyes,andquot; her mother said.