Parents crowdfund for their son in need of a transplant


BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — When insurance would not cover the necessary surgery for their son, Ben and Stephanie Bartage turned to crowdfunding for his treatment.

Three-month-old Stephen Bartage seems like any other baby, but he was born with a heart defect.

His parents say he underwent heart surgery, and that’s when doctors diagnosed him with DiGeorge syndrome.

Stephen is missing a thymus, which is an organ the produces necessary T-cells to fight off infections.

The solution is a thymus transplant, but his parents say the only hospital without a waitlist is in London, but their insurance will not pay for it, so they have to raise funds themselves. 

“We love Stephen and we’re so thankful for him, and we’re going to do anything we can to help him,” said Ben. 

The goal is to raise $500,000 for the surgery and recovery time they will have to spend in London.

One way they are trying to raise funds is through a yard sale.

The yard sale event ran through the weekend, and the prices for items were whatever you were willing to donate. 

They say some people have donated without taking any items, “we’ve received generous donations so far and we’re optimistic that we’re going to achieve our goal,” said Ben. 

A patron of the yard sale, Johnette Smith, said, “This family is wonderful trying to help their son.”

She heard about the event on Facebook and figured that she would stop by to see what was left since it was the last day. She was more than happy to help out the family. 

“It’s just so touching that the people have been so giving and charitable to this family… that just makes me feel good about human nature,” said Smith. 

If you would like to help out the family, you can find their GoFundMe HERE

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