John Kaeser

John-Ambassador

Age 15 - St. Louis Children's Hospital

In the seventh month of pregnancy, April's doctors discovered her baby, John, appeared to have Tricuspid Atresia, an Aterial Septal Defect and Transportation of the Great Arteries. His diagnosis was confirmed when he was born two months later on Feb. 11, 1998 (weighing a whopping 9 pounds and 5 ounces)!

In November 1998, John received the first of what would be several surgeries performed throughout his young life by the teams at St. Louis Children's Hospital.  In his first procedure, John received the life-sustaining "Glenn Shunt" procedure. In his most recent (and hopefully last!) surgery - June 2009 - John had a procedure to alleviate his sunken chest.

As John grew older and became a very active child, he wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea of having another heart surgery.  He was worried about missing his summer activities and sports, and not getting to see friends.  However, John approaches things in life with a great attitude and has many good memories about his hospitalization.  From playing with service dogs to video games, ordering cookie-dough ice cream blizzards and the Children's Playroom, John can make treatment at St. Louis Children's Hospital sound like a vacation! His only complaint was that his Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr. Charles Huddleston, wouldn't make an extra incision beneath previously existing scars to create a smiley-face on his abdomen.

The Kaeser family feels very blessed by the medical care John received from world-renowned St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Dr. Huddleston. Today, John is one of the most active kids you'll meet.  After being stuck on the Disabled List for his baseball team, The Bandits, John made a full and fast recovery not only to pitch for his team, but also to throw the opening pitch at a Cardinals Game! If he's not playing baseball, John is usually outside and loves fishing, camping, riding his bike, and playing with his dog Lucky.