Downtown Bristol community rallies around baby boy

Bristol rallies around baby boy

BRISTOL - William Winston Blevins born Friday, March 1, weighing 5 pounds 10 ounces, but soon after birth doctors noticed something wasn't right. A few tests revealed Winston had a condition needing the attention of doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Early Saturday morning, about 24-hours after birth, Winston was on a plane to Charlottesville. There doctors realized Winston had a condition that required emergency surgery.

"Winston did not have the ability to get oxygenated blood, blood that has oxygen in it, out to his body. The body obviously needs oxygen or it doesn't do quite well," says pediatric cardiologist Dr. Jeff Vergales.

In addition to the structural issues in his heart Dr. Vergales says Winston's internal organs mirror one another, so he has two right chambers of the heart, but no left chambers, two right lungs, but no left and no spleen since the spleen is on the left side of the body. It's a condition so rare Dr. Vergales says UVA may see it twice a year, but doctors say this Winston is a fighter and doing well.

"He has done very well. We can never make it perfect, we can only make it adequate and he still has a long, long road to recovery, but he's doing as well as we could have expected," adds Dr. Vergales.

While the family faces a tough road ahead they are thankful for the Bristol community and the outpouring of support.

"It really just restores your faith in people in general. Eric and I do a lot for the community, but we don't expect things in return. This is just it really has been overwhelming. It's very special to us to have this much support from our community," says Christina Blevins.

Eric Blevins says friends and family have stepped up to offer places to stay, words of encouragement and even an online site where people are donating what they can.

"We don't even know how to say thank you to some of the things people are doing, because it's so selfless. It's making me certainly a better person," adds Eric Blevins.

As far as what's next, Eric says they're taking everything day-by-day, but Dr. Vergales says Winston faces at least two more surgeries before the age of three.

Family and friends have created a website to help the family. For more information visit: 

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