Problems started around six months ago when their youngest son, Jacob, was still in the womb. Amanda Allman had visited her doctor for a routine ultrasound. Doctors discovered she had too much water in her uterus and said she needed to deliver the baby immediately.
When they broke her water, the umbilical cord tightened around Jacob’s neck. His heart rate kept dropping as she was pushing. When he was finally delivered, his issues were not over.
Jacob was diagnosed with sagittal craniosynostosis, which means his skull fused together too soon. In normal children, the seven bones in the skull fuse around the age of two, but Jacob was born with the bones already together.
Doctors told Amanda and her husband, Bobby, that Jacob would need surgery in about three months to correct the condition. But when Jacob turned three months old, the family was told there wasn’t enough blood in his body to perform the surgery and that they would need to wait until he was six months old.
The operation should take place sometime in January. It will consist of surgeons removing a quarter-sized piece of Jacob’s skull and making two incisions on both sides of his head.
“We are scared and worried for him,” Amanda said. “We’re worried about the aftercare. Any parent is going to worry about their child.”
Bobby and Amanda work odd jobs for money, such as mowing lawns and babysitting, but work has dried up. Their only working vehicle broke down, so they either get rides to places they need to go or walk.
Amanda said she has been looking for a job, but many places require an application to be filled out online, but the family does not have Internet access. And most jobs require a working vehicle.
Because of this, the couple is behind on their rent, and they are not able to afford Christmas for Jacob or their other two children, Evan and Eric. The family signed up for the Angel Tree at the Salvation Army and said if it weren’t for that, the kids wouldn’t get any gifts this year.
But the Allmans are staying positive.
“We try to look at things on the bright side,” Amanda said. “We try to make the best of every situation.”
The Allmans are representative of just one of more than 1,000 families and individuals in the six-county region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia who will be assisted by the Times-News Rescue Fund this year. Last year, generous donors gave approximately $60,000.
This year’s goal is also $60,000. Tax deductible donations may be sent to Times-News Rescue Fund, 701 Lynn Garden Drive, Kingsport, Tenn., 37660.