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September 9, 2010

Zander Speer Named March of Dimes Honoree

Zander Speer, age six, of Wever, IA, has been nominated as a March of Dimes honoree. He was nominated by the Heart of Missouri Motorcycle Chapter and the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.).

Zander was born May 10, 2004 with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus.  He will be honored on September 18, 2010 in Columbia, MO by the March of Dimes.

“He has endured his share of surgeries,” said his mother Tenneille Speer, formerly of Memphis. ”He braved his first surgery at 23 hours to close his back. At 9 days old his shunt was placed in his brain.”

Just prior to Zander’s second birthday, doctors discovered his shunt had malfunctioned. The leading neurosurgeon at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, indicated the youngster had suffered the second worse malfunction ever repaired by the doctor.

Troubles continued to spring up, as following Zander’s second birthday, doctors revealed that he was suffering from a major brain hematoma.

“Surgeons then performed amazing surgery to take off a large amount of blood surrounding his brain,” said Tenneille. “From these two surgeries less than two months apart, he has overcome great obstacles.  Today he is the happiest boy alive!  His smile melts your heart!  We are so thankful to have him with us.”

Zander is now in kindergarten, reading very well and walking very well with bracing and a walker.  He loves school and all life has to offer.

“We pray for the best everyday because it can all change overnight,” mom said. “Many parents do not realize what an amazing country we live in with the world’s best hospitals.  Medical technology today in our United States is the most outstanding in the world.”

She shuttered at the thought of her son being born in a third world country.

“Who knows how long he may have survived,” she said. “This is for any child born with any type of complication.  It is absolutely the hardest thing you will ever do handing your newborn off to a team of doctors and pray they save their life.”

Tenneille encouraged parents and family members to continue to support foundations that provide funding for doctors and nurses to better care for children.

While Zander and his battles with Spina Bifida have been difficult, the family has had to endure medical issues with little brother Zayne as well. He was born with a complete cleft lip and palate, and also has undergone tremendous surgeries.

Together the two boys have been through twelve surgeries. 

“These two boys together have been through more surgeries than some families with 10 kids,” Tenneille said. “I hope everyday someone does not have to go through what we have been through as a family.  It certainly ties the bond though.”

It was not until after Zayne was born that the family discovered that Tenneille has a severe problem with folic acid absorption.  Had the family done genetic testing prior to the pregnancies, they possibly could have prevented these defects.

“I recommend as a mother with two children born with defects that both mom and dad have genetic testing done,” Tenneille said. “The odds of having a child born with a defect are astounding.  Growing up in the Scotland County area we were not exposed to many children suffering from defects.  When we moved to the Fort Madison area, I was overcome with how many children just in Lee County, Iowa were living with defects.” 

Anyone interested in making a donation to the March of Dimes in honor of Zander may do so before September 17th. Mail checks made out to the March of Dimes to Tenneille Speer, 3448 Hickory Hills Dr. Wever IA 52658.  A receipt will be mailed back.

Zander’s March of Dimes web address is www.bikersforbabies.org/zanderspeer Donations can be made directly on this site.

“We are just asking that everyone find it in their heart to make a donation to help prevent premature births, birth defects and better genetic testing,” Tenneille said. “I encourage everyone at one time in your life, please take time to visit a children’s hospital.  You have not seen anything until you see children fighting for life.”


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