KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — If a person’s existence is measured by the lives they touch then Jonah Puruleski’s three months was a lifetime, indeed.
Jonah’s Journey lasted for 99 days and it was documented on Facebook by his mother, Heather who stayed by his side away from her home, her job and her three other children who were cared for by their father — Greg — a state away.
“I’d do it all over again,” said Heather. “I had three wonderful months with a sweet little boy.”
Jonah was born April 26 with Trisomy 18, a genetic condition that in his case affected his heart.
Doctors at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the University of Michigan Hospital and insurance company Priority Health refused to provide a surgery Heather and Greg believed could prolong their son’s life.
But the Hospital at Ohio State University in Columbus would do the surgery if the Puruleskis could get him there and show that they could pay.
“Don’t ever give up, don’t ever take no or this isn’t the right choice, fight do your research, fight for your child be her advocate for them,” Heather said.
They received help from donors — including a $39,000 donation from Rockford attorney Thomas Lockhart — that secured the transportation and a state-supplied insurance program helped pay for the surgery in June.
“The heart surgery was successful. It was other complications with his other organs,” Heather said “If we’d have taken him home without it we might have gotten a day.”
Heather and Greg are grateful for the time they had with their son.
“I think he was given to us for a reason. Special children are given to the strongest parents and I think he was given to us for a purpose,” she said.
Heather’s Facebook page “Jonah’s Journey” is followed by tens of thousands.
“He showed them hope and courage and faith,” Heather said.
The parents remember the times of joy.
“It made us stronger as a couple, as a family,” Greg said.
“I remember the first time I could put him on my chest how amazing that was feeling. Y’know everyone takes that for granted but I didn’t get to do that very often and it was just amazing,” Heather said. “He was pretty special. I miss him a lot.”
In Jonah’s last hours, Greg and Heather were able to sleep with Jonah together in a bed and the day before he died, Heather said they heard a rare sound.
“We hear Jonah’s voice, one of the very few times we heard it and he kept cooing and he had this smile on his face and I believe at that time he was dreaming of angels. He was” Heather said.
The cast made of Jonah’s hand being held by his mother are the last tangible evidence of his short life, but the imprint he made will never crumble.
Jonah’s funeral was held earlier this week and, as his mother requested, all who attended wore bright colors to remember him.