PALS Helps Unite Baby Easton Friedel With Family For Thanksgiving
See Easton’s story here (Via WSYR New York)
WEEDSPORT | A family is finally together again, after months of challenges and with challenges ahead.
Easton Friedel, who was born Aug. 23 with epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic skin disease, finally came home Friday to Weedsport after three months at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
“It has been a long three months,” said Mary Pine, Easton’s great aunt.
Easton’s condition causes his skin to be so fragile that it tears or detaches from his body if it is exposed to the slightest friction or heat. He will need intensive medical care for the rest of his life.
Community benefits have taken place for the baby all over the county during the last few months and a crowd of nearly 50 neighbors, friends and even some who didn’t meet the Friedels until Friday night gathered in downtown Weedsport with signs, candles, glow sticks and cameras ready to welcome the family home.
Easton’s parents, Danielle and Jared Friedel, and older brothers Logan, Carter and Blake, arrived in style in a large limo bus donated by Big D’s Limos with other relatives. The shining, black bus parked briefly in downtown Weedsport, where the family greeted friends and Jared Friedel held Easton up to the bus window so the community could get a look at him.
“My daughter was born the day after (Easton) — the 24th, same hospital and everything,” said Melissa Cuykendall, of Weedsport, a family friend. “I can’t imagine not being home.”
Another resident, who saw Danielle Friedel going through her pregnancy, also came to welcome them home.
“I work in the Dollar General and we just kept watching their progress and rubbing the tummy,” said Bev Holmes. “We’ve been watching the progress. Weedsport’s a small community. When something happens, we all stick together.”
Even the owner of the day care the Friedels’ other three sons attended sent a text message welcoming Easton home.
“Erie Canal Kids is looking forward to adding Easton to our ‘family’ along with the other boys,” texted Kim Cuipylo from her vacation in Florida.
The family was flown to Syracuse by Patient AirLift Services, a volunteer airline that operates in the northeast as far west as Ohio and as far south as Virginia, according to the agency’s website.
Volunteer pilots give their hours and the use of their aircraft without compensation to patients who need many chemotherapy treatments for a long period of time, patients who must avoid crowded public places due to immune diseases or patients who are too fragile to wait at an airport and go through security. Easton fit the bill to get a flight.
Once the family arrived home, the excitement was still rampant as they settled in.
“It’s really amazing to see him in his own home with his siblings and parents,” said Easton’s aunt Sara DeMatteo.
Danielle Friedel, who was overjoyed to see so many people waiting for the family, said Easton will have to return to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in March for a check-up and will need to return every few months until he is older.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported him, who supported us,” she said.