05-31-2008: news-local

By JAMES ZIEGLER
Bismarck Tribune

Baby Crew Engel has seen more than his share of medical troubles.

At 9 days old, Crew was diagnosed with Peter's anomaly in his left eye, a rare condition that causes a cloudiness of the eye that affects vision.

Three months later, in December 2007, Crew was diagnosed with severe congenital glaucoma in his already troubled left eye.

In his eight months of life, Crew has undergone seven surgeries to help alleviate his conditions, including one in Miami to remove the lens from his left eye.

"I usually just take it day by day and hope for the best," said Crew's mother, Heather Engel.

There is little chance that Crew will ever gain normal vision in his left eye, but with the help of contact lenses or glasses, he may have some sight out of it.

"This isn't something that they're going to be able to completely fix," his mother said.

The glaucoma causes pressure buildup in Crew's eye, making weekly trips from his home in Fargo to Minneapolis necessary.

Crew's most recent surgery was to hook up a shunt in his eye to allow fluid to escape and relieve some of the pressure.

With the weekly trips to Minneapolis and costly surgeries, medical bills are starting to accumulate, although Crew's family is not sure how much is owed, yet.

On June 12, the Engels and and Heather Engel's family, the Vanouses, will be holding Crew's Carnival at the Mandan Community Center. Proceeds will go to help the Engel family with the medical and travel expenses for Crew's treatment.

While Crew's parents, Heather and Colin Engel, live in Fargo with Crew and his sister, Luca, they both grew up in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

The carnival will have Fun on the Run inflatables, face painting, air brush tattoos, hot dogs, cookies, bars, beverages and Hawaiian shaved ice.

A carnival benefit allows kids and adults to enjoy it.

Heather Engel said they wanted to do something that kids could enjoy and this way Luca, 2, also can be involved.

On top of activities for the kids, like the mini-jungle bouncer and the princess bounce and slide, there also will be fun for adults, like the bungee run, which works like a tug-of-war, but with a bungee cord.

Admission is by freewill donation. The event will be open from 3 to 8 p.m.

"We just want to thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers," Heather Engel said.

 

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