Tuesday, October 15, 2019


 See this weeks print edition  

for these stories:

  • Area Bowling Results





News Article
Return to Previous Page

Pennsburg Baby Proves He’s Small But Mighty
Written by Kelly Chandler Staff Writer

Members of the leathers family gather around baby Brandon. Holding him is his mother Carla, and left to to right, sisters Areonna Leathers, Julianna Keller, father, Kirk Leathers and sister, Keira Leathers.

How to Help

A beef and beer benefit will be held April 23 from 4-10 p.m. at the Red Hill Firehouse in Red Hill.  Tickets are $30 per person and sales will benefit the family to defray their medical expenses.  
Donations for Brandon Leathers and the family can be directed to "Hope for Brandon" through First Niagara Bank in Red Hill.  Tickets for the beef and beer fundraiser in Red Hill can be obtained by calling Pam Rivera at 215.704.7452 or plrnewagepainting@yahoo.com. 

        Brandon Leathers, at 3 months old, finds his favorite place to sleep is in his mother's arms.  Like other babies his age, he is slowly but surely figuring out fine motor skills, like how to grasp his pacifier and follow moving objects with his eyes. 

        But unlike other babies his age, he is fighting daily to survive.

        When he was born Dec. 26 at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), doctors knew the baby was going to have kidney problems, which were determined during routine ultrasounds.  His mother, Carla Leathers, had been hospitalized since Dec. 1 due to pregnancy complications. 

        But according to his family, they had no idea of the uphill battle they faced.

        Shortly after his premature birth, and a few loud, strong cries, both of his lungs collapsed.  Since that time doctors determined he had kidney failure, and would require around-the-clock dialysis.  He also has a heart condition, called long Q-T syndrome, where his heart rhythm is irregular and takes extra time between beats.  He requires a feeding tube, has a hyperactive thyroid and, as of this week, doctors found he has blockages in his intestines caused by air.

        "It's a day-by-day thing where you see how it goes and you take it from there," said father Kirk Leathers.  "It's been tough.  We have three other kids.  Between trying to spend time with them, be at the hospital, me work – it's been a lot.  We both have our days where it's too much."

        "He's had more surgeries…We stopped counting after 10," said Brandon's mom.  "When something happens to one of his three organs affected, it affects all the others.  It's like a domino effect.  He's crashed two times.  There's been times where he was turning gray, dying.  He's been treated several times for sepsis.  He's been through a lot."  

        The Main Street, Pennsburg residents have been spending their time performing a juggling act.  Carla Leathers said sometimes it's hard to keep all the balls in the air.  After being involved in a collision on I-76, the family is down to one car.  She spends her day taking care of the couple's other children, ages six, seven and eight, one of which also has long Q-T syndrome, transporting her husband to and from work, and trying to spend every moment she can with their baby in the city.

        "It's a balancing act, being here for everyone.  There's days when I can't be here [at the hospital] when I want to be," she noted.

        Baby Brandon's prognosis was starting to look up though.  He was weaned off a breathing tube about three weeks ago and then, finally, could be held by his mother, father and three sisters, Julianna, Areonna, and Keira.  Peritoneal dialysis, where a tube is used to pump sterile solution into the lining of his stomach and back out to filter waste, was dialed down from 24 hours to 15 per day.  Medication was regulating his heart condition and thyroid problem.

        He was slated to move from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to the regular pediatrics floor at the hospital this month, but with the latest complication, all plans to move have been suspended.   

        "Every time we feel like he's getting better something else seems to happen," said Brandon's mom. 

        "The girls love him, adore him," said Kirk Leathers.  "They constantly ask when can he come home.  They always want to know when can they hold their brother and just have him with them.  It breaks their hearts that he's still in the hospital…It's been a rollercoaster ride."     

        As doctors perform more tests and wait and see if the intestinal blockage requires surgery, the family says they're not giving up hope.  That's largely because Brandon isn't giving up either. 

        They are looking forward to welcoming him home as soon as they can, where he will require around-the-clock care.  He will eventually need a kidney transplant when he turns two and weighs 25 pounds.  His mom said the hope is that she or her husband would be able to donate. 

        "The best-case scenario is after the transplant he won't need dialysis.  We will be making his life as normal as we can make it."

        But until then, the family is leaning on the support of others, including family and friends, their church, St. John's Lutheran in Sumneytown, and people across the country, who have united through a "Prayers for Brandon" Facebook page.

        Friends Pam and Paul Rivera and Mike Goodfellow have also organized a beef and beer benefit April 23 from 4-10 p.m. at the Red Hill Firehouse in Red Hill.  Tickets are $30 per person and sales will benefit the family to help defray their medical expenses.  The Riveras are currently seeking businesses to donate items to be raffled off at the event.

        To date they have garnered donations from Vince and Friends Restaurant, Mario's Pizza, Clemens Food Group, Blommer Chocolate and Pennsburg Beer and Soda.  Red Hill Fire Company also donated the use of the hall.

        "I just hope they get the money they need because of the medical equipment he will need," said Pam Rivera.  "Kirk is the sole provider for a family of six.  I hope it helps Brandon have a better life."

        Carla Leathers said she and her family are grateful for all the support they've received and she hopes it helps to shine a light on kidney disease/failure, because there's currently no cure.  She also hopes it makes people think more about becoming organ donors.

         "We are really looking forward to having him come home," she said of Brandon.  "There are so many people who can't wait and love him." 





Join our Business Directory today and get the introductory rate for a full year.
Click Here.


Home Editorial
News Photos
Sports Business Directory
Obituaries Classified Ads
Calendar Contact Us
  Advertise with the Town & Country... It's the weekly paper that people read, not just look at!  Click here to learn more or sign up.   Serving the municipalities of Bally, East Greenville, Green Lane, Hereford, Lower Salford, Marlborough, Milford, New Hanover, Pennsburg, Red Hill, Trumbauersville, Upper Hanover, Upper Salford
The Town & Country is now available at 64 locations throughout the region! Pick up your copy at any of the locations here, or better yet, have it delivered directly to your mailbox!  Click here to subscribe.

Local News for Local Readers since 1899.
© Copyright 2009 and Terms of Use
Site Design by Bergey Creative Group