Hundreds of people offered their support, prayers and money over the past six months to help a beautiful 3-year-old who suffered from a congenital heart defect.
Bronson Bullock of Janesville died Monday, Feb. 15, just 16 days before his fourth birthday.
Bronson’s parents, Sarah Corey and Mario Bullock, told The Gazette on Friday the support surprised them.
“He was very much an inspiration to everybody that has followed the story. The outpouring of support from the community has been beyond belief. Words can’t describe it,” Mario said.
“We’re so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love we received,” Sarah added.
Sarah and Mario said they will try to give back to the community. Sarah said she will get involved with organizations that help parents who are going through what she and Mario experienced. Mario said he is considering becoming a counselor for families in that situation.
He and Sarah did not have someone in their corner who understood the experience and could help them deal with the ups and downs, including the frustrations and the lack of knowledge of what was coming next, Mario said.
Seventy-six people donated $3,915 to the family through the GoFundMe fundraising site, and nearly 2,300 people followed Bronson’s story on a Facebook page, Bronson’s Journey to a New Heart.
Sarah said the support allowed her and Mario to be with Bronson for many precious hours they otherwise would have lost.
Bronson also leaves behind an older sister, Zoë. The loss has been difficult for her and the rest of the family, Sarah said.
The Gazette featured the family in an article in November. His parents described him as a fun-loving child who loved superheroes.
Bronson was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome 20 weeks after his birth. The left side of his heart was severely undeveloped. Surgeries followed to prepare him for an eventual heart transplant.
At different points, doctors believed Bronson suffered damage to his brain, liver and kidneys, and they attached machines to his body to help him through, hoping to get him strong enough for the transplant.
The transplant happened Jan. 30. The heart didn’t show electrical activity afterward, and Bronson slowly succumbed because of a variety of conditions. Sarah said she had pushed thoughts of him dying out of her head, but toward the end, she could see he was not doing well.
He died in his mother’s arms, according to his obituary.
A public memorial visitation is set for 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, at Schneider Funeral Home & Crematory, 1800 E. Racine St., Janesville.