Local 2nd grader pulls through multiple heart surgeries

by Cristin Parker news@mediactr.com
Courtesy Photo
Bobby Rogers is pictured with Kidd Kradick morning show radio personality J-Si during the 2015 Kidd’s Kids trip to Walt Disney World. Courtesy Photo
Bobby Rogers is pictured with Kidd Kradick morning show radio personality J-Si during the 2015 Kidd’s Kids trip to Walt Disney World.

There was a time when doctors and his parents worried he wouldn’t be able to walk – attending school wasn’t even on their minds -- but Rusk youth Bobby Rogers continues to beat the odds and started second grade at Rusk Elementary School this week.

When asked how he felt over the weekend before the first day of school Monday, Aug. 20, the 8-year-old answered in a lively voice, “Good!”

He said he’s looking forward to the second grade in Ms. Massingill and Ms. Moore’s classes, where he’s already got a couple friends from his class last year.

“My favorite subject is lunch,” he declared with a giggle. “I like my teachers – I met them already. They are nice. One of them gave me a cookie!”

Bobby, whose parents are Robert Rogers and Laura Sides of Rusk, was born then diagnosed with the heart defects, tetralogy of Fallot (toF) with pulmonary atresia and venticular septic disorder. He underwent his third heart surgery on July 26 at the Medical City Children’s Hospital in North Dallas – what should be his last surgery until he’s an adult.

“(Bobby’s most recent surgery) went very well,” dad Robert Rogers said. “As soon as he came out, I immediately noticed a change in his complexion – he just looked healthier.

“We did everything right, at least we thought we did,” Rogers said of his partner Laura’s pregnancy with Bobby. “But it wasn’t anything we did or didn’t do. Doctors say 1 percent of children are born with this.”

According to the National Heart Association’s website, the cause of toF isn’t known, though it is a common type of heart defect. The defect features four problems -- a hole between the lower chambers of the heart, an obstruction from the heart to the lungs, the aorta lies over the hole in the lower chambers and the muscle surrounding the lower right chamber becomes overly thickened.

While Bobby was carried to full term, his parents remember when he was born he started turning blue.

“His lips were blue, his face was purple,” Robert Rogers remembers. “They immediately flew him to Dallas. When he was a week old they put a B T shunt in his heart. We spent three months in the hospital. When he was six months old, they were able to repair everything – they patched the hole in his heart, replaced the pulmonary artery, just everything.”

It was during speech and physical therapy Bobby’s parents learned he might not be able to walk due to muscle and joint problems stemming from his heart issues. After electroshock therapy was applied, Bobby’s muscles slowly got stronger.

Bobby and his parents traveled back and forth to Tyler, three times a week, for two years, to doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions and medical exams.

“It got to be a lot,” Bobby’s mama, Laura said. “But one of the most important things I tried to remember – and would tell other parents going through something like this – keep faith, everything’s going to be okay. I know it’s bad sometimes, but it’s going to be okay.”

In 2015, Kidd’s Kids organization, sponsored by the Kidd Kraddick morning radio show, chose Bobby and his family as one of 50 to go to Disney World.

“That was amazing,” Rogers said. “I never saw such big smiles on Bobby and his sister Ashley’s faces. It really meant a lot to both of us – with all the other issues, we’d never be able to even dream of taking a vacation like that – but they made it possible.

“The whole crew, Big Al, J-Ci, Jenna,” Rogers began – “Don’t forget Kelli,” Bobby interrupted to remind his dad – “And Kelli, they were all so great.”

Bobby returned to the radio show, which broadcasts from Dallas, the day before his last surgery, to give the crew an update.

“J-Ci even made a bet with Bobby – Jenna had given Bobby a smooch on the cheek and left lipstick print – J-Ci bet Bobby $10 he couldn’t keep that sugar on through the whole surgery,” Rogers shared. “After his surgery was done, a nurse got a picture of his sugar and Instagrammed it to the crew, showing he did keep it on the whole time.”

Kidd Kraddick show staffers also shared the family’s address on the show’s website, so people could send get-well cards to Bobby.

“He got 19 cards, from all over the nation – and two from Rusk even,” Rogers said. “When the cards started coming in, Bobby suggested we donate a dollar for each one we got, back to the hospital – he even took the $10 he won from his bet and donated it, too.”

Rogers said he’s extremely grateful to the Kidd Kraddick show, his family and his community for all their support and prayers.

“What I’ve learned from all this is keep faith in God,” Rogers said. “Keep your eyes focused on tomorrow, because it’s going to be better. Especially through the toughest times, I’d look at Bobby and think ‘how can I give up on him?’ He’s my hero. Stay thankful and keep believing in God – that’s all we got.”

Bobby interjected with a big grin, “Don’t give up!”