"It’s an amazing feeling becoming a mother for the first time, I was so elated!!! Then all of a sudden I was told the worse news that any parent would've ever wanted to hear. My child was going to be born with a heart condition.”
-Tia Wilson, Gavin’s Mother
The miracle child, known as Gavin Emmanuel was born September 12, 2012, at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. Gavin was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). His mother couldn’t believe it, but she knew that they were going to face this head on. After 4 open-heart surgeries, including one heart transplant, life was great! His first surgery happened when he was just 5 days old, called the Norwood Procedure, the Glenn at 5 months old and the Fontan at 2yrs old. The Fontan procedure caused Gavin to form PLE (Protein Losing Enterapathy). This disease became so severe that he required a heart transplant. His first heart transplant was installed at the age of 4 years.
One year after his first heart transplant, Gavin started getting sick.
On August 17th, 2017 he was admitted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. No one could figure out what was wrong. He went in for a MRI on the August 24th and had his first Cardiac Arrest (heart attack). It took approximately 30 minutes to resuscitate him. He completely recovered on his own. Later, he received an MRI with no complications! However, the MRI showed that there was some scar tissue that completely surrounded his heart like an eggshell. He then had another open-heart surgery to remove this fibrous tissue. The surgery was successful but some of the tissue had grown into his heart. This is a case that doctors have not seen in 20 years it's very rare and the cause of this is unknown.
On September 12, 2017, on his 5th birthday, he had his second cardiac arrest causing him to need ECMO (life support). After his organs recovered, he was then removed off of ECMO on September 17th and put on a ventricular assist device (VAD) called Centrimag. The machine basically did the work of his heart. He made GREAT progress with his device switch. He was then switched from the Centrimag to the Berlin Heart. This would allow him to move about and then qualify for another heart transplant. As of December 4th, 2017, Gavin was listed as a 1A heart transplant recipient! As time went by, his family planned a 1/2 birthday for Gavin. The party was March 9, 2018, six months after his birthday. The very next day, on March 10th, Gavin had a stroke. Because of this, he was removed from the transplant list. Gavin made a miraculous recovery within two weeks. He was added back to the transplant list and on March 26, 2018, received a second heart transplant. Gavin recovered with a fight! There was a time during his recovery that his incision became infected, but Gavin, our fighter recovered from that as well. Gavin & Tia were discharged from the hospital August 13, 2018, just shy of being admitted for one full calendar year.
Time passed & things were going great. Then Gavin started to get sick again. This time, it was pneumonia. Gavin was in and out of the hospital three times for this. Turns out, the miracle baby had Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). This is a disease that usually occurs 10+ years after having a transplant. On December 15, 2018 Gavin had another heart attack, and as usual, he recovered well. The doctors advised that they didn’t know how long he was going to live. As of April 22, 2019, Gavin’s CAD had progressed. There were no other options for his care, besides monitoring and waiting. His mother and family still believed GOD!! Gavin was full of life & energy. He was the most charming six year old you could ever meet. Gavin attended Parker Woods Montessori in Cincinnati, Ohio, and loved Sonic, science & music. He started violin lessons. For Christmas 2018, Gavin was given the trip of a lifetime, as A Special Wish Foundation sent him to Disney World in Orlando, FL.
On August, 4 2019, while attending a birthday party, Gavin would have another heart attack. This time, proving to be fatal. On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at 9:45am EST, Gavin passed away and joined his best friend, Jesus in heaven.
Gavin is survived by his mother, Tia Wilson; father, D'Quinn Barber; sister, Quri Barber; grandmothers, Shelia Parrish, Fredrina McKnight; grandfather, Woodrow Wilson; 5 aunts, 2 uncles, 4 godparents, numerous cousins, and a host of family & close friends who loved him dearly.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 2:30 - 4:30 pm at Grace House Church (1222 N. Main Street, Dayton, OH 45405). Funeral service will begin at 4:30 pm.
To share a memory of Gavin or leave a special message for his family, please click the "Share Memories" button above.