Tia and Kase Brown
Kase Brown is a happy 2-year old little boy. He loves to climb, chase his dog and be a bother to his big sister. Sounds like a normal little boy doing normal little boy things. However, Kase’s story is anything but “normal.”
His mom Tia hadn’t planned on becoming pregnant again -- her daughter was 16, looking forward to senior prom and high school graduation -- and she certainly didn’t expect a preterm birth.
Kase was born at 23 weeks weighing just 1 lb., 5 oz. and spent his first five months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Memorial Central Hospital. He was a born fighter, but being so small and coming so early, he had other challenges – transitional diabetes, chronic lung disease and a closed valve on his heart. But he kept fighting, and Tia sat with him every day, even after he was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Denver with pulmonary hypertension and the need for a tracheotomy to help his breathing.
As a single mother with the demands of a job and a teenage daughter, Tia would make weekly trips to Denver where she could be with her baby until she had to leave him to return to her job and her daughter in Colorado Springs. For the next three months, Kase kept fighting to get better and Tia kept fighting to give her baby the love and support he needed. Finally, Kase was well enough to go home with his family.
In all, Kase spent the first eight months of his life in two different NICU hospitals – but he never quit fighting and Tia never gave up the belief that her son would graduate from the NICU and come home.
Now a toddler, Kase is learning to walk and attends speech therapy sessions. He still has his trach tube, but is as active as he possibly can be. Tia says each day is filled with blessings and adjustments. She’s extremely grateful to March of Dimes for developing surfactant, the medicine that helped Kase’s tiny lungs breathe and to the NICU teams for treating her son and helping him win his fight to survive. Tia is also extremely thankful for the love and support of her daughter and her own mother– and to the many people she’s met through online and in person support groups who understand what Kase and she are facing each and every day.
Tia is proud to share her story. She understands the challenges that families with premature babies face, especially when those babies have respiratory problems which require an emergency tracheotomy. As she watches Kase grow and continue his fight, Tia is committed to serving as an advocate for premature babies and their families and helping them understand that they are not alone.