Jacksonville Mother Renews Hope after Infant Recovers from Life-Saving Lung Surgery

Morgan Henderson reflects on her daughter’s adversity and her personal motivation to help end lung disease, COVID 19

Several months into her pregnancy during a routine prenatal care visit Morgan Henderson, and her husband Ross, learned that their unborn daughter, Autumn had what appeared to be a large mass on her left lung that was pushing her heart over to the other side of her body.  Henderson was seen weekly to make certain Autumn did not develop any fluid around her heart.  Thankfully, Autumn remained stable, no fluid developed.  “We stayed really positive that Autumn would be born healthy. We had people all over the country praying for her,” shares Henderson.   

On October 13, 2021, Autumn Henderson was welcomed into the world. “We were so relieved that our precious Autumn was here, healthy and thriving in the hospital,” comments Henderson. Autumn was graciously welcomed home but within a few weeks, Henderson noticed that Autumn was slightly retracting when breathing and would gasp throughout the day, especially when eating. “I just knew something wasn’t right.  I called and requested to see our pediatric surgeon sooner than we had planned.  X-rays and a CT scan confirmed that her condition was Congenital Lobar Emphysema, not a mass like originally thought. This condition allowed for Autumn to breathe in, but not exhale all of the air out of her body, essentially trapping air in her left lung and pushing her heart out of place,” shares Henderson.

Two months later, three days after Christmas, Autumn had surgery removing the infected lung area. Despite an intense surgery, Autumn was released from the hospital just a few days later. The Henderson family cautiously brought their baby girl home once again from the hospital. “It was like night and day. Autumn’s breathing was silent, more comfortable – she was breathing normally,” shares Henderson. Just as the Henderson’s hope was restored, Autumn and her parents contracted COVID-19, but fortunately, their cases were mild and slowly the Henderson family continued the healing process.

Looking back, Henderson cannot believe what her daughter Autumn has lived through, “a newborn gasping daily for air, then having a life-threatening surgery, then COVID-19.  No one at any age should have to experience all of that suffering,” Henderson emotionally shares.  While Henderson can now laugh as she recalls her son saying, “Holy cow, Autumn has a really a big boo-boo Mommy,” Henderson is quickly and humbly reminded by the prominent scars on Autumn’s little precious body that the healing process has a long road and that Autumn’s lung still needs to regenerate.
As Autumn continues to heal, Henderson has now shifted part of her time towards generating awareness about lung disease and has joined forces with the American Lung Association. Henderson, along with hundreds of other supporters will participate in the Fight for Air Climb Jacksonville on Saturday, April 9th.  This fun-filled outdoor event will raise critical funds to support lung disease research, advocacy, and education. Henderson radiates excitement as she shares how their team, Autumn’s Flight Crew, will help lead the way at TIAA Bank Field in just a few weeks.  “Just knowing that Autumn is well, breathing normal and on her way to a full recovery, will help our team climb to the finish line,” Henderson exclaims.  

Money raised at the Fight For Air Climb will fund the Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease, as well as support the organization’s COVID-19 Action Initiative. The COVID-19 Action Initiative is a $25 million investment to address COVID-19 and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics. 

The Fight For Air Climb will take place at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday, April 9. Registration is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit ClimbJax.org.

For more information, contact:

Jill Smith
[email protected]

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