Local dentist lends helping hand
Emilee Holloway, who has suffered debilitating seizures most of her young life, is in the heart and mind of Dr. Zach Goodman, and he hopes her story will move others to pray and contribute to her healing.
Goodman is sponsoring a hamburger dinner plate this Saturday, August 25 to benefit Emilee, who is 19 months old. When asked what motivated him to support Emilee, Goodman said he felt called by God to act.
"Maybe her story hits me hard, because I have a two-year-old of my own," he said. "But I really felt this was something I needed to do – that God wanted me to do this."
Emilee is expected to have life-altering surgery on September 13 at Cook's Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas where she will under go a left hemispherectomy. Surgeons will remove part of the left side of her brain and disconnect the rest.
"Emilee is expected to be in the hospital for six weeks if all goes well," said Emilee's mother, Jennifer Holloway. "She will undergo therapy for several years of her life for paralysis on her right side. Once she returns home, she will undergo therapy every day for quite a while, which will include physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy."
The family is asking for prayer over Emilee during surgery, a speedy recovery and a healing for her young body. Doctors have attempted to place Emilee on medication to stop seizures, but none were successful. Holloway was told by doctors, if Emilee's seizures are not stopped, damage to the healthy portion of her brain could be incurred.
"It's a lot of prayer and hope," Holloway said. "I've been in contact with other parents whose children have had these surgeries and there is some hope.
"(I spoke with) a woman whose son had the same side of the brain removed," she continued. "He's made wonderful progress and is now speaking up to 300 words at age three. If it weren't for her (the mother), I don't think we'd have the courage to do it."
Other fund-raisers for Emilee are also underway. A supper hosted by First United Methodist Church in Homer Friday, August 24 will be selling hamburger plates, which includes burger, chips, dessert and a drink, for a $10 donation.
Plates may be picked up at the church, or eaten there. Everyone is invited to a prayer program following the dinner at 7 p.m.
T-shirts are also being sold at $12 to $17 a piece to benefit Emilee. Contact Allison Dillon at 433-8063 for more information.
Dr. Goodman's plate dinner will be catered by Hugh Wood and is $7 per plate. Pick up will be from noon until 4 p.m. this Saturday at Ark-La-Tex Collision on Homer Road across from Walmart.
(Michelle Bates with the Guardian-Journal contributed to this story.)