Image Credit: Instagram/TheLifeofChaceElijah
Robert Selby and his son Chace are the latest father-son internet sensation.
Chace, only three years old, suffers from Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect. This causes him to be underweight and forces him to use a gastrostomy tube, or feeding tube.
In order to show his son that he wasn't alone, Selby cut one of his son's old feeding tubes and glued it to himself. He then posed for a photo with Chace, who sucked in his stomach to create “abs” just like his dad's:
Selby told The Huffington Post just why he did it:
“I did it to show him that I support him and his condition, that he’s never in a fight alone."
The post has amassed over 10,000 likes, and is overflowing with comments of support.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), Tetralogy of Fallot is a heart defect consisting of four issues including:
- A hole between the lower chambers of the heart,
- An obstruction from the heart to the lungs,
- An aorta that lies over the hole in the lower chambers, and
- An overly thickened muscle surrounding the lower right chamber.
Though the cause is unknown, the AHA states it's a common heart defect, often seen in Down syndrome or DiGeorge syndrome children.
The condition is treated surgically, typically with a temporary operation for small babies or babies with other issues. Complete repair tends to happen later in life, though some with Tetralogy of Fallot have complete repair during their first operation.
After repair, children must undergo a follow-up with a pediatric cardiologist. Eventually, regular, lifelong visits to a cardiologist as an adult will be necessary.
Children have a higher risk of developing heart arrhythmias after repair. These may cause dizziness and fainting, and the possibility of needing medicines, heart catheterization, or further surgery, according to the AHA.
HuffPo reported that Chace has had two open-heart surgeries in his three years of life.
Every year, Selby posts a picture to social media to show how Chace is growing and progressing, and in an effort to spread awareness of congenital heart disease. He explained:
“My message is to let my son give people hope in knowing that he has been through a lot at such a young age and look at how far he has come. So just don’t give up, stay strong, keep fighting and everything will be alright."