Golf outing and auction to help Liam ‘The Lion’ Feeney

Hamburg. The two-year-old boy born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome faces his final stage of palliation surgery.

15 Sep 2020 | 09:09

Liam “The Lion” Feeney is a two-year-old boy born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He has already endured surgeries and numerous therapies.

Support Liam and his parents by joining Sparta UNICO’s golf outing and participating in an online charity auction.

“This journey is hard, but these kids have incredible strength and fight in them,” said Karla, a HLHS mom. “We call them ‘heart warriors’ for a reason. They will show you true courage and strength, and in turn, they will help you find your own.”

The Jack Schaaf 2020 Memorial Golf Outing, hole-in-one prizes, begins with a shotgun start on Monday, Oct. 5, at the Ballyowen Golf Club, 137 Wheatsworth Road, Hamburg. Registration and breakfast will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon. At 6 p.m. is a grand dinner buffet.

The cost is $175 per golfer. RSVP by calling Ray Shupak at 862-266-7039 or Mike Schaaf at 973-670-0984. Register at dixongives.com/spartaunico. The sponsor is Family Ford of Netcong.

Bidding for the online charity auction begins 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1. Call Ray Shupak at 862-266-7039 for details.

Liam’s story

After trying for two years to have a baby, Kevin P. Feeney of Pequannock and Nicole (LePore) Feeney of Wantage sought out fertility treatments and were blessed with a pregnancy in December 2017.

In an April 2018 anatomy scan, they learned the gender of their baby, and that the baby had a life-threatening heart defect. After been given the option of termination, Nicole and Kevin sought out second and third opinions. Liam was officially diagnosed at 22 weeks gestation with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. If left untreated, the baby would have only hours or a few days to live.

From there, the couple sought out hospitals that could do the surgeries needed, but no hospital in New Jersey could do them. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia had much success with staged palliation surgeries, and all further care was directed there.

Liam was born on Aug. 24, 2018, and his journey as a heart warrior began.

On Aug. 27, Liam endured his first palliative surgery the Norwood. Not even 12 hours later, Liam suffered cardiac arrest in front of Nicole and Kevin and was revived. He spent three weeks in the hospital following this surgery.

In between his first and second surgery, he was life-flighted to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for low oxygen levels. He required requiring oxygen, blood transfusions, and antibiotics.

Liam’s second surgery, the Glenn, was a bit unexpected. After many complications, Liam spent seven weeks in the hospital. He came home with a feeding tube and continuous oxygen.

Liam grew and improved, and was able to come off oxygen. During his second surgery, Nicole became ill and was in the hospital herself with postpartum cardiomyopathy, which caused left-sided heart failure. After medical treatment, follow up with cardiology, and weight loss for over a year, Nicole’s heart function improved.

More recently, Liam was finally able to wean off his feeding tube at 19 months old. He is currently receiving four different therapies through early intervention six times a week, and following up with local Morristown cardiologists and his healthcare team.

Liam faces his final stage of palliation surgery, the Fontan. This open heart surgery is done between ages 2 and 3. The family is hoping that he will qualify for this next surgery, and if not, children usually must wait until eligible or listed for a heart transplant.

Liam is happy at home with his parents, who both work in the community as nurses, along with two dogs Rudy, and Harley. Dad is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

For more information, visit YourCharityAuction.com/TheLion.

Essential information:
What: Jack Schaaf 2020 Memorial Golf Outing
When: 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5, with registration and breakfast from 10:30 a.m. to noon; grand dinner buffet at 6 p.m.
Where: Ballyowen Golf Club, 137 Wheatsworth Road, Hamburg
How much: $175 per golfer, includes greens fee, hot breakfast, two drinks, and grand dinner buffet; $50 for the dinner only
Golf registration: dixongives.com/spartaunico
Auction: YourCharityAuction.com/TheLion
“This journey is hard, but these kids have incredible strength and fight in them. We call them ‘heart warriors’ for a reason. They will show you true courage and strength, and in turn, they will help you find your own.” --Karla, HLHS mom