Raffle will bring hope to Austin child

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 18, 2000

What do scuba divers and Kylie Beth Haney have in common?.

Monday, December 18, 2000

What do scuba divers and Kylie Beth Haney have in common?

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Strangely enough, a hyperbaric chamber.

Normally used to aid divers in overcoming decompression sickness, also known as the bends, hyperbaric chambers now are being used experimentally to treat neurological disorders. Eight months after her March 17, 1998, birth, Kylie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, caused by a lack of oxygen during or immediately following birth.

"Cerebral" refers to the brain and "palsy" refers to movement or posture disorders.

"No two cases of cerebral palsy are the same," Kylie’s mother Lindsey Bothun said. In Kylie’s case, physical rather than mental difficulties are prevalent. Kylie’s arms and legs are affected by the disorder, including her manual dexterity.

Physical and occupational therapists work with Kylie regularly, in an effort to expand her abilities. Since beginning therapy, Kylie has gained limited abdominal control and fine motor skills.

"Kylie tends to be very spastic, which prevents her from doing things," Bothun said. "She can’t walk, talk or crawl."

Bothun and Kevin Haney, Kylie’s father and Bothun’s boyfriend, are simply hoping that the hyperbaric treatments will make her less spastic and bring greater success to her therapy treatments.

Though Kylie is challenged by her palsy, Bothun said that it has not affected the nearly 3-year-old’s personality: "She is a very bright, happy little girl." Kylie responds with smiles when answering "yes" to the questions her mother asks her and sticks out her tongue when she is eating to signal that she is full.

After hearing about the success of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) conducted by Dr. Richard Neubauer on KAAL-TV’s morning news and reading about it in Exceptional Parent magazine, Bothun and Haney contacted Ocean Medical Center in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Fla.

Neubauer has been treating patients with pressurized oxygen since 1972. The procedure works by increasing the pressure of the oxygen, thereby forcing it into the body’s tissues. Expectations are that each procedure will improve oxygen uptake in the brain.

Though support of the procedure is growing, insurance companies currently do not cover the costs involved, since it is considered experimental. This means that Kylie’s treatment will cost money her family does not have.

Kylie will spend a little more than an hour – two times a day – in the chamber, with a four-hour break in between. The staff will administer treatments every day except Sunday for a two-week period, equaling about 20 sessions. Bothun and Haney expect to see results from the treatment in a period from three weeks to one year.

Vaughn Bothun, Lindsey’s father, said that in a case they heard about in the Twin Cities, a patient who underwent the treatment had progressed from severe cerebral palsy symptoms to attending classes in a mainstream school after three series of sessions.

Each HBOT chamber session costs $200; the total for 20 sessions will reach $4,000. An additional $2,000 will be charged to the family for two single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scans, which document pre- and post-oxygenation brain activity. Bothun and Haney will need additional funds for their travel expenses to Florida and their room and board during their stay.

In order to raise the money needed, Kylie’s great-uncle, Jim McGee, has donated a 1940 International truck for a raffle. Sponsors for the raffle are Cedar River Longbeards and the Austin chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Each raffle ticket costs $10 and can be purchased from Bothun and Haney family members, as well as at Nicol’s North Main Texaco. The raffle will take place at the Holiday Inn on March 3. Anyone with questions about the raffle or a desire to buy a ticket can call Vaughn Bothun, Lindsey Bothun’s father, at 433-9160.

Lindsey Bothun said that some donations already have come in, including a generous one from the Eagles Club. Lindsey Bothun adds that depending on the success of the 20 sessions, they may wish to take future trips to Florida for additional treatments.

They would like to raise enough money through the raffle, prior to their Jan. 14 departure, to pay for the trip in full at that time. They will, however, be going even if they do not receive the full cost of the trip because Bothun and Haney both feel that it is what Kylie truly needs.