FRENCHTOWN — When you were a child what did you do for fun? Was basketball and favorite pastime?
What about playing with your parents or friends? How about all those fun times at recess playing tag, kickball or four square?
Now imagine one day your life changes and you’re now having to have surgery to fix a rare heart condition.
That’s what happened to Aydan Baker in Frenchtown.
We sat down with Aydan and his father Will to learn about a diagnosis that has forever changed their lives.
Imagine this — you’re in sixth grade, and you love to walk around Frenchtown and shoot at a family property.
But one day your heart starts beating so fast you’re rushed to the emergency room — a visit that would change everything for you.
“We ended up getting sent to the cardiologist here in town. He got put on a halter monitor and we caught a 6-second clip of his heart beating at 296 beats,” recalled Aydan’s dad, Will Baker.
That’s the story of Will and Aydan Baker of Frenchtown.
In late August Aydan experienced the rapid heartbeats that sent him to the emergency room.
A cardiologist diagnosed Aydan with Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) — a condition where the heart beats rapidly and fast.
It's heartbreaking news for Aydan's dad who also has this same heart condition.
"I freaked out. I cried. My anxiety went through the roof because that’s something I never wanted him to go through. It’s to me just very scary. It’s a constant worry of ‘am I going to be ok, am I not going to be ok’,” Will told MTN News.
Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Joshua Sticka at Western Montana Clinic says he sees three to five children in Missoula a year with SVT.
Overall, in the U.S. cardiologists see SVT in 1 out of every 500 to 1,000 patients per year.
But because of the low number of cases the medical infrastructure in Missoula doesn’t allow for families impacted by this condition to stay in here. Most of the time the families are referred to either Spokane or Seattle.
“Unfortunately, because these issues are pretty rare there's not a lot of infrastructure available to treat a lot of these things locally,” Dr. Sticka said.
“So, it does necessitate transferring or transitioning those patients to another center that has more infrastructure in place," continued.
That's because Aydan must avoid any activities that cause his heart to beat faster — and that’s not how the 12-year-old wants to live.
“I felt like I couldn't live my life with it,” Aydan said.
There are no active cures for SVT, but there is a surgery that would help to regulate Aydan’s heart to rest at a normal resting rate.
'It’s called a heart ablation, and that’s where they go in and do a study for the heart and they decide where the problem is and they will actually cauterize or burn the heart to fix the problem,” Will explained. “I have actually had this happen and I know exactly what he’s going through on this aspect.”
For Aydan, the procedure alone will cost over $40,000.
To help offset some costs, a GoFundMe has been created to help the family afford this life-transforming surgery.
Aydan has a message for all the support that he has received from his community.
“I’m ok and I’ll get through this once I have surgery and I’ll be feeling better after surgery. Just don't want my heart to beat anymore fast.”