Check out that million-dollar smile from the mayor of Children’s! Five-year-old Beaux Waites finds joy in others while sharing his quiet strength.
There’s nothing like looking at the smile of a very young man who is a fighter. After Beaux was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a heart condition called atrioventricular (AV) canal defect, he underwent surgery for the first time in his life at four months old.
After spending more than a month at Children’s of Alabama for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Beaux’s open-heart surgery was a scary but vital decision. His parents do not regret making it.
“Thank goodness we did, because when they opened him up, his heart was enlarged and nearly filled his entire chest cavity,” Lauren Waites said. “He could have easily gone into heart failure at any second.”
A Big Heart
Most people with Down syndrome who have AV canal defect have only one hole in the heart that can cause problems with the valves that regulate blood flow . Beaux had four holes in his heart. Three of them were corrected by Children’s doctors, and brave Beaux came through with flying colors—and that winning smile.
“After his surgery, I walked into his room,” Lauren said. “There were so many machines with tubes running to and from our baby and people coming and going from the room. All without skipping a beat. The staff at Children’s was like a well-oiled machine. It was amazing!”
Children’s of Alabama: Heart and Soul
Beaux celebrated his five-year heart surgery anniversary this past November. Although he’ll eventually have to have another surgery to close the remaining hole in his heart, Beaux knows what he’s facing. Over the course of his young life, he’s has had seven surgeries for various health issues. Each time, he’s faced them with courage and hasn’t looked back.
Big Brother and Big Wheels
Beaux cherishes his bond with his 10-year-old brother, Matthew, and he likes to play t-ball at the park. Like most boys his age, Beaux also loves anything with wheels!
On a recent visit to Children’s, Beaux found the Red Wagon that is dedicated to him and rode around the hospital in it. He also enjoys books and has a fascination with Shrek and Elmo. School is a big part of Beaux’s life, too.
Attending school gives Beaux the opportunity to learn and make friends. This experience is meaningful to him.
“His teachers and the students are all very supportive of him,” Lauren said. “He even has a peer moderator who has become one of his best friends.”
Meet The Mayor
One of Beaux’s shining traits is his love of people. He doesn’t seem to meet a stranger!
“When he is out in public, he thinks he is the mayor of everything! He walks around and meets people everywhere he goes,” Lauren said. “From the very beginning, he was our new normal .. the missing piece to the rest of our lives.”