Fish fry to benefit battling infant



The American Legion in Hillsboro is sponsoring a fish fry beginning at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 to benefit 7-week-old Liam Baliel, who was born with Down syndrome, congenital heart defects and respiratory problems.

The newborn is the grandson of Claude and Phyllis Landis of Marion and the son of Mark and Michelle Baliel of Wichita. He is also the great-grandson of Catherine Hein of Marion.

For the first six weeks of his life, Liam was under the care of a cardiologist at Children?s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, but was released Friday to be home with his parents in Wichita for now, Landes said.

?When Liam was born, he weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was 20 inches long but he was premature (by three weeks),? she said, ?and there was too much fluid (around the baby).?

Landes said three weeks prior to the due date the doctor did an ultrasound test to check heart rate and other vital signs, but because there was no movement from the baby, he did an immediate Cesarean section.

?Within an hour, we knew our grandson had Down synd?rome, but after an echocardiogram, we discovered he had a hole in his heart and was airlifted to Children?s Mercy Hospital,? she said.

Only a few days old, Liam was on heart medication and appeared stable.


Landis said the baby then started having complications with the heart medicine resulting in kidney problems.

He also started experiencing a rapid heartbeat, which meant he was unable to nurse and his feedings were done through the stomach using a feeding tube.

?After starting out at 6 pounds, 11 ounces on Aug. 9,? Landis said, ?Liam weighed only 7 pounds, 2 ounces six weeks later.?

Even though Liam is home, his grandmother said he still has a long way to go. He will need surgeries to repair the congenital heart defects, but that cannot be done until he weighs at least 10 pounds.

?He will probably be between 2 and 4 months before he has the surgery,? she said.

The fish-fry fundraiser will help Liam?s parents with travel expenses from Wichita to Kansas?City for checkups as well as related expenses.

?Liam needs so many different types of vitamins and formula right now, and he needs to be fed (through a stomach tube) every 21?2 to 3 hours,? she said.

Before her grandson was born, Landis said his parents were deciding on his name.

?They couldn?t decide on Liam or Alexander,? she said, ?so they looked at the meaning of names and saw that Liam meant strength and courage. They liked that meaning.?

Liam has four siblings, age 14, 12, 8 and 5.

For more information about the fundraiser, call Legion Commander Dick Carr at 620-947-3624.

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