Local photographers, Ashley Bass and Candice MacDonnell, with Sixty-Six and Station team up to help raise money in memory of four month old, Kent McPherson. Bass and MacDonnell will be shooting Superhero mini sessions on Saturday, July 14th for donation only. Proceeds will go towards an engraved bench and the planting of a tree at the Waynesville City Park in memory of Kent.
Kent was born on January 9th, 2018 to the parents of Captain Brad and Brea McPherson. Kent was born with a double inlet left ventricle, which is a rare congenital heart defect where only half of his heart formed. Kent’s parents were informed at twenty weeks of pregnancy and were able to do their research on the rare heart condition. Kent’s mommy, Brea, shared that they were given ample time to build a community of support for their baby boy.
Brea rejoiced, “He was able to come home after only six days in the NICU and able to skip his first surgery because he was thriving from breastfeeding and living a mostly normal life.” Kent underwent many doctors’ appointments and testing throughout his four months.
On May 11, 2018 at four months old, Kent went in to the hospital for his open heart surgery. On the day of surgery, staff of the Fort Leonard Wood Pediatric Clinic wore “Team Kent” t-shirts to support Kent during this difficult time. Brea shared, “These were the people we saw weekly, and twice a week sometimes for the last few months. These were the ones who cheered with us as he gained, and felt deeply when he didn’t. They’re the ones who told me I was doing an awesome job and giving him the best.” She continued, “They are some of the only ones who have seen me cry in this journey. They have loved on Kent and given my family unwavering support. How blessed we were to have such an awesome team of doctors and nurses to support our baby!”
Due to a crucial complication during his surgery, Kent became brain dead and his parents made the heart-wrenching decision to remove him from life support on May 14th after his vital organs began to fail. Brea expressed, “The four months we got to share with him will be loved and cherished forever.” Kent passed away in his mother’s arms while she was singing “You are My Sunshine” at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO.
An overwhelming support from the community showered Kent’s family. “Kindness for Kent” was organized on June 11th where participation to spread kindness within the community was encouraged. To participate, volunteers would complete a kind act for someone in their community. It was as easy as that! There was also a blood drive organized on Fort Leonard Wood by Callan Johnson and Brandon Bass, along with several candlelight vigils in baby Kent’s honor.
Brea stated that Kent and his family often visited the Waynesville Park and has since gotten approval to place a bench with his name engraved and plant a tree in his memory. “We visited the Waynesville Park almost every day of his life.” This is when Ashley and Candice with Sixty-Six and Station generously offered to step in and help fund the goal.
Superhero mini sessions will be by donation only, offered at the Sixty-Six and Station. The location is 313 Historic Route 66 W, in Waynesville. To schedule your session time, you may visit Facebook events “Superhero Mini Sessions: Kindness for Kent” or via web link https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=12834399&appointmentType=7173788.
Kent loved his family and he was adored by all! He cherished his mommy, adored his daddy, and idolized his big brother. He was able to experience so much with his family in little time. Brea commented, “He was able to experience adventures such as his first snowfall on his first car ride home from the hospital, going to the zoo, going on hikes, dipping his toes in the river, being the cutest model for his favorite photographer, going on a wild animal safari, meeting the Easter bunny, and much more.”
Kent was a fighter! He was a warrior! A soldier like his daddy but just in a different way!
Brea shared, “We hope to do his bench and plant a tree in the City Park in September. Our goal is $2,000!” As of June 27th, the McPherson family has raised $320 towards “Team Kent” and the bench goal.