Family holds fundraiser for baby with cystic fibrosis

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Jake Magee
Friday, August 22, 2014

JANESVILLE—Newlyweds Andrew and Stephanie Dabson were shocked when they found out Stephanie was pregnant, considering doctors told them she couldn't conceive after cysts damaged her cervix years earlier.

They were even more shocked when their baby, Robert “Bobby” Dabson, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disorder.

The couple's families organized a fundraiser to help the parents offset some of the medical bills and cost of raising Bobby. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Andrew and Stephanie are grateful for the much-needed help.

“You pray, you receive,” Stephanie said. “I really wasn't expecting the outcome that we're getting.”

The couple used all their sick leave and vacation days to care for Bobby when he was in the hospital for two weeks after his premature birth May 17, more than a month before Stephanie's due date, Andrew's mother, Cheri Dabson, said.

Andrew and Stephanie see Bobby's doctor, who's only available on Mondays and Wednesdays, once every three to four weeks in Madison. They have to take unpaid leave to take Bobby to see him, Cheri said.

Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease that coats the stomach and lungs in a thick mucus that makes it hard to digest and breathe. Both parents have to carry the gene for a child to have a chance to receive the disease.

Stephanie knew for years she carried the gene. Andrew didn't know he was a carrier until he was tested after Stephanie got pregnant.

The Dabsons don't have a history of cystic fibrosis, so they're surprised by the unfortunate coincidence, Cheri said.

“I talked to my side of the family, and they're all thrown for a loop,” she said.

Bobby's future includes oxygen masks, inhalers, medication, possible lung transplants and more. The life expectancy of people with cystic fibrosis is 37 years, Cheri said.

“This little guy is our little blessing,” she said.

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