Just about a month ago we reported the happy news of Jason and Kimberly Chapman celebrating the birth of the third son, Benjamin. At the time, Jason mentioned that Benjamin had a cleft palate, but that they hoped to take him home a few days later.
As it has turned out, the baby had a number of other health issues that became apparent over the next days, with his blood oxygen dropping to 50%. The Chapmans spent the next 12 days with Benjamin in the NICU at Cox South Hospital in Springfield, MO, before doctors decided to transfer him to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.
There Benjamin was diagnosed as having Complete Cleft Palate and Pierre Robin Sequence, where his tongue and chin are set farther back then is common, causing both swallowing and breathing problems. As the palate between his mouth and nasal passages is missing, he is also unable to suck properly, and reconstructive surgery will be required to correct these issues.
The Chapmans have been part of the bluegrass family for many years. We first met Jason and his brothers, John and Jeremy, performing with their dad, Bill, as The Chapmans, a popular bluegrass group that recorded several albums for Pinecastle and Compass in the late ’90s and early aughts. Once Bill decided to come off the road, the three boys opened a music store in Springfield, The Acoustic Shoppe, to serve the needs of bluegrass pickers in the Ozark regions, and worldwide using online ordering and package delivery.
Friends of Jason and Kimberly have launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist them in covering the medical bills they will be facing, including loss of income as Jason tries to spend as much time as he can in St Louis with Kimberly and Benjamin. Kimberly also spent the last month of her pregnancy hospitalized with COVID-19, and she has had to take an unpaid leave of absence from teaching in order to remain by the baby’s side.
Current hopes involve consulting with specialists in Chicago, and the possibility of immediate surgery to ensure that Benjamin’s tongue doesn’t continue to block his airway. Complete reconstructive surgery will have to wait until he is close to a year in age.
If you have enjoyed the music of The Chapmans over the years, or know them through the music store, it would be greatly appreciated if you could make a donation of any size through GoFundMe. Contributions can be made there securely using a major credit card or PayPal.
Every parent’s worse nightmare is seeing a newborn child suffer this sort of ailment right away, and Benjamin, Kimberly and Jason, and their two other boys have several years before little Benjamin will be out of danger.
Please contribute if you can.