Funds being raised for boy waiting to receive heart transplant

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 7, 2019

 Ian Quartuccio sits in a hospital bed after one of his surgeries. He has had a total of six, including four open-heart surgeries before he was 3 years old. He will now be getting a heart transplant.

Ian Quartuccio sits in a hospital bed after one of his surgeries. He has had a total of six, including four open-heart surgeries before he was 3 years old. He will now be getting a heart transplant.

Photo provided by Leanndera Matney

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Ian Quartuccio, of Shelby Township, was born with multiple congenital heart defects and had his first open-heart surgery when he was just 4 days old. After his first surgery, he had five additional surgeries, including three more open-heart surgeries before he was 3 years old.

The surgeries were able to keep Ian’s heart going for 10 years, but in the last six months, his heart function has declined severely. Now at 13 years old and having autism, he will face a heart transplant.

With the high expenses associated with a transplant, Ian and his family will face large debts for something that he cannot control.

Funds are being raised to benefit Ian and his family as they go through another surgery.

According to Ian’s mother, Tracy McGee, of Shelby Township, Ian has a team of doctors at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Dr. Kurt Schumacher is the main doctor who sees Ian in the Heart Failure/Transplant Center. Also involved are Drs. Heang Lim and David Ming-Shen Peng, and his surgeon is Dr. Richard Ohye.

The family has set up a GoFundMe webpage to help raise funds for the expenses that will come with all the procedures that Ian will have to go through to get a new heart.

The current goal of the GoFundMe is set at $10,000 and had reached a total of $3,575 in donations as of Jan. 4.

The family is also holding a benefit fundraiser from 6 to 10 p.m. Jan. 26 at CJ’s Pub in Shelby Township so that Ian will have everything he needs and his family can be with him during the whole process.

“The donations from the benefit will be used to pay for any non-covered medical expenses, as well as other expenses, to ensure that we can be with him at the hospital while he’s there,” McGee said via email.

Tickets to the benefit cost $20 and include a taco bar, nonalcoholic beverages, live entertainment, a 50-50 raffle, a silent auction and a gift raffle.

Tickets to the benefit can be purchased at the door or in advance via PayPal using slicknott@yahoo.com with “BENEFIT” in the notes.

Ian will be required to make many hospital visits leading up to the heart transplant, which will be expensive for the family.

“Also, there are a lot of preliminary tests for a transplant, which require many hospital visits as well as cardiac rehab to strengthen his body prior to the transplant. He may also need to go inpatient again to manage his condition with IV medications until he is able to get a new heart. This would require him to be in intensive care due to the constant monitoring that is needed for IV therapy,” McGee said.    

McGee said Ian’s heart lasted quite a long time, but the reason they tried to get his heart to work for him as long as it could was the possibility of him not needing another transplant after the one he will be getting now.

“The reason they waited so long for the transplant is because it is a major surgery and they want to give children as much time with their own hearts as possible. The younger they are when they receive a new heart, the higher chance of needing additional transplants. He had been stable for 10 years. But the last six months, his heart function declined severely,” McGee said.

An update that McGee wrote on the GoFundMe page Dec. 18 states that Ian is currently on the waiting list for a heart transplant.

Leanndera Matney, Ian Quartuccio’s aunt, hopes that people will take a moment to help out her nephew.

“Ian is a very loving boy who means so much to so many. He asks for very little and deserves to experience a full and healthy life. My family and I would gladly give him our own hearts if we could,” said Matney via email.

McGee hopes to see her child get a good hand dealt to him this time.

“Ian is an incredible child. He was dealt a bad hand. Not only does he have a life-threatening heart condition, he is also autistic. But no matter what his diagnoses are, he smiles and laughs more than anyone I’ve ever met. He is an inspiration to anyone who meets him and continues to be my hero!” McGee said.

To make a donation to Ian’s expenses, visit gofundme.com and search “Ian Quartuccio.”

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