Family works to get baby girl needed surgery

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 22, 2003

At the young age of just five and a half months, Hope ElizabethMartin has had more trips to the hospital than most people do theirentire life.

Her family has provided love and support, but overwhelmingmedical expenses have left them exhausted and searching for ways tocontinue caring for the little one.

The community is now being called on to help the family fund thetreatments needed for the daughter of David and Casey Martin.

Hope was diagnosed with a neurological disorder just monthsafter her birth on Aug. 5, 2002. Even before her birth, though,doctors noticed something was wrong. During a sonogram, theydetected a cyst on Hope’s brain.

“She seemed to be doing all right at first. They let her comehome with us three days after she was born,” said Judy Arnold,Hope’s grandmother. The baby began having major problems at threemonths old, she said.

After causing bouts of life-threatening seizures on a dailybasis, the cyst was removed through surgery on Dec. 2, 2002.

“They (doctors) told us when she had surgery the seizures couldeither stop, get better or get worse, and hers got worse,” saidJudy Arnold.

Hope is now taking three types of medications for seizures, butdoctors believe another surgery might be the best option. They havereferred her to the Cleveland Children’s Rainbow Village inCleveland, Ohio, for further evaluation.

The surgery would involve removing a portion of her brain, butdoctors have told the family that Hope’s brain would readjust aftersurgery and make up for the missing part, which would be about thesize of a quarter.

“There’s a 90 percent chance that the surgery cold stop theseizures,” said Judy Arnold.

“We’re trying to raise money so they can go to Cleveland, Ohio,to see a doctor about surgery for Hope,” said Jeana Norton, afriend of the family.

Norton and Judy Arnold have placed donation jars in businessesthroughout the Brookhaven area in hopes of raising enough money forthe trip.

“So far we’ve had a really good response,” said Norton.”Everybody’s been gracious about it.”

They are also planning a garage sale and an account has been setup at Bank of Brookhaven in care of David and Casey Martin for HopeMartin to aid the family with other expenses.

Since November the family has made six trips to the hospitalwith stays ranging from a few days to more than a week. CaseyMartin quit her job as the manager of a clothing store, and DavidMartin has taken a number of days off work as a carpenter in orderto spend time with their only child.

“Financially they are strapped. They’ve gotten behind on alltheir notes,” said Norton.

The Martins have shut off all the utilities at their mobile homeand are moving in with Judy Arnold and her husband Bobby. Hope’spaternal grandparents are Joe and Tina Martin.

Most of Hope’s medical expenses have been covered by Medicaid,but the family sees a long road of expenses to come.

The family continues to pray that this little girl will live upto the name she was given at birth.

“We named her Hope because we want to keep this one,” said JudyArnold, noting that her daughter’s first child died ofcomplications at just six days old.