Warrior Wyatt

Wyatt Fisher, 1½, who lives in St. Joseph, had a stroke two days after birth.

Wyatt Fisher is a warrior. The 18-month-old fights all day every day to do things others take for granted, such as sitting up and eating.

Born prematurely, Wyatt suffered a cerebellar hemorrhage from a stroke two days after birth that resulted in cerebral palsy, visual impairment, plagiocephaly and hydrocephalus.

“He wasn’t even supposed to make it out of the (neonatal intensive care unit). The first week of his life they told us he wasn’t going to make it. They were going to send us home on hospice because they told us there was nothing they can do for us,” said Wyatt’s mother, Tiffany Fisher of St. Joseph.

Wyatt had had a long stay full of operations of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City before leaving the NICU, where he spent 53 days. But he just kept fighting and got stronger.

“He was able to have a surgery that removed the fluid from his brain. After that, he was able to open his eyes and start looking around,” Fisher said.

Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth. Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition characterized by an asymmetrical distortion or flattening of one side of the skull. Hydrocephalus, also called water on the brain, is the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the cavities or ventricles in the brain.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain in charge of fine motor skills.

“So, hearing all of this, none of them were things you want to hear when your baby is born,” said Wyatt’s grandmother, Suzanne Fisher.

The family was told of his condition when they brought then-3-year-old Willow to the hospital to meet her newborn baby brother.

“They told us right then, while she was there, that he had suffered a stroke and that on his MRI he had so much brain damage. What are you supposed to do?” Tiffany Fisher said, adding the family didn’t have time to process the news. “I think for like the first two or three weeks, every time that (Willow) seen me, I was crying. I just felt so bad because she must’ve felt like it was something with her because I couldn’t even tell her what was going on or anything.”

Now, Wyatt has a shunt that drains cerebral fluid every day. He also undergoes regular speech and physical therapy.

“His 4-year-old sister, she’s probably his best therapist,” their grandmother said. “He’s a warrior. He’s just fought so hard to get to where he’s at.”

“Our new normal is just to expect the unexpected,” Tiffany Fisher said, adding the family’s expenses continually mount since all of Wyatt’s surgeries and needed devices must be customized for him.

“Having a child alone — to raise them — I think they say costs about a million dollars. To have a special-needs kid, it’s outrageous. Everything has to be special made, custom, adaptive.”

Despite it all, Tiffany Fisher said, Wyatt is doing well.

“He’s pretty good. I say that, but the reality is he has cerebral palsy. That’s not anything that goes away. Some of his other diagnoses, they can be life-threatening, but right now he’s doing good,” she said.

To help the family offset medical costs, a charity and business owner are stepping up and out around a track in Smithville, Missouri, where the family formerly lived.

Run/Walk A Mile in My Shoes will begin at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, June 10, at the Smithville High School track, located at 645 S. Commercial Ave. in Smithville. The event is being organized with help from Cherrine Wheeler, owner of Smithville’s Cherrine’s Hair Etc. and worthy matron of the Garland Chapter No. 287 of the Order of Eastern Star.

“It’s a real community effort,” Suzanne Fisher said. “Our community is really reaching out and trying to help.”