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Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook

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Ridgefield Park Baby Smiles Through Pain

Leland Reeves of Ridgefield Park. Photo Credit: Daniel Reeves
Baby Leland, center, has a reflux problem that causes him to aspirate everything -- even what he eats. Photo Credit: Contributed
Baby Leland, center, surrounded by his three older siblings. Photo Credit: Contributed

Baby Leland of Ridgefield Park has spent his eight, short months of life struggling to breathe and baffling doctors as to his condition.

He stopped breathing completely more than 15 times sometimes for nearly a minute during hospitalized testing, terrifying his parents Dan and Erin Reeves each and every time.

And still, Leland, born a premie, continues to smile through it all -- blissfully unaware of how different his life should be. In fact, his dad says he's is taking everything better than the rest of the family.

More than $4,200 had been raised for Baby Leland on a GoFundMe as of Thursday morning.

Doctors only recently were able to conclude through months of testing that Leland has severe reflux but does not throw up. Instead, he aspirates everything into his lungs -- even what he's eating.

Leland is not getting worse, but he's not improving. Extended stays in the hospital, doctors appointments and the costs associated with treatment have financially drained the emotionally-depleted family.

The options are either more medication or surgical procedure that would wrap Leland's stomach around his esophagus so he can't throw up. The surgery worries his father, who is comforted solely by the possibility that his baby will soon outgrow his condition.

"We're sleeping with one eye open," said Reeves, a local youth football and wrestling coach. "We're constantly checking to make sure he's still breathing.

"But he's gaining weight and perfectly happy -- always smiling. You can never tell he's miserable or in pain. He's taking it the best out of all of us."

To donate or read more of Leland's story, CLICK HERE.

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