Parker Edward Chen was born 2 1/2 months too soon. He spent 8 months at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and 2 months at their PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). He spent close to 3 months at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey for rehabilitation. Parker finally came home on May 8th, 2009 at 13 months old. He will turn 4 years old on April 10th. He currently still has medical issues that need to be resolved.
There is a history of premature births in our family, but we never would have ever imagined having a child so early. Our pregnancy was perfect, no signs of distress or complications. It was not only a surprise having a child so early and so small (1300 grams, which is less than 3 lbs), but the complications that came after the birth felt so surreal. Parker was diagnosed with CHARGE Syndrome, a genetic abnormality that occurs in 1 out of 10,000 babies. At first it was devastating to us both as parents, because not only was Parker born premature, but we now have to prepare for a child with special needs. How will we guide this child throughout his life, how will we nurture him and educate him for his future? How will society perceive him? Will they accept him? Can we emotionally take on this responsibility? These are questions that we are still trying to answer.
We cannot thank Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc enough for all their support, good thoughts and prayers throughout this journey. We would have never imagined, such an out pour of compassion, understanding and love from brothers, chapters and schools – some we have never even met. I crossed Sigma Psi Zeta in 1996 and Ed crossed Pi Delta Psi Fraternity in 1998. There is a saying in the greek-lettered community that when you have letters, you have them for the rest of your life – this is a true testament to the pride and gratitude that we have for everyone that has supported Team Parker Chen. Your donations and support in joining our team year after year, has not only helped our cause, but has raised awareness of premature births. It has also renewed the spirit, pride, dedication, and solidarity of the letters that Ed holds so dear.
I encourage you to join our team! With the strength in numbers we can make a difference!
Let’s go Team Parker Chen 2012!
To join or donate to our team, please visit Ed’s personal page: http://bit.ly/GHgzE7
Through that link, you can also learn more about Team Parker Chen and how you can help our cause.