Mason Fluty, with his big grin and blue eyes, lasted as long as he could at his fundraiser dinner at the Herald Barn on Saturday, but by 7 p.m., the 7-month-old was tuckered out.
But even after his father volunteered to take his baby boy home, the fundraiser went on and by the end of the night, Fluty’s mother Casey Freitas deemed the event a success.
The fundraiser, which attracted roughly 600 people, had raised over $22,000 for the Fluty family. That money will help go towards the $75,000 needed for travel and hospital expenses for Fluty’s two major surgeries — one in March and one in April.
Fluty, who has Apert syndrome, has already been through one major surgery to help correct the fusion of his skull.
Apert syndrome, which prematurely fuses bones together, means babies born with the disorder do not have a “soft spot,” among other issues, and therefore have to go through multiple surgeries throughout their lifetime to ensure their brain and their skull grow properly.
On March 7, Fluty, Freitas and his father, Michael Fluty, will head to the University of California, San Francisco, where surgeons will slice across the top of Fluty’s head and down around his cheeks to continue to correct fused bones in his craniofacial area.
Then, in April, Fluty and his parents will fly to Dallas, where a doctor who specializes in Apert syndrome has offered to separate Fluty’s fingers and toes at no charge. Children born with Apert syndrome tend to have webbed fingers and toes.
Not all children are guaranteed all 10 fingers and all 10 toes, but Fluty’s doctor, Dr. Jeffrey Fearon, has assured Freitas that her son will have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot.
While the amount of money raised Saturday night was a great start, Freitas said, they are only about one-third of the way to their target — totally covering their $75,000 hospital fees and travel expenses.
The fundraiser, which brought in not only family and friends but also city officials such as Galt City Manager Jason Behrmann and officers from the Lodi Police Department, was just the first event Freitas is hoping to host to help her baby boy.
“We definitely have plans for a second (fundraiser),” she said as she bounced Fluty on her lap. “But the date is up in the air right now ... This (fundraiser) was so great.”
Freitas, who said she awoke at 5 a.m. Saturday morning to begin prepping the Herald Barn for that evening’s guests, did not head to bed until well after midnight when she and other event organizers finally finished counting donations and cleaning up.
Suzie Hohsfield, one of the event organizers and a friend of Freitas’, said she could not have imagined a better turn out to support Fluty.
“The support from (the community) has been unbelievable,” she said. “This night ... is just fantastic.”
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.