GBO Founder Derek's nephew, Emmanuel "Manny" Wilke, was born on 10/7/06 in Beaver Dam to Nate & Tiffany Wilke. Manny was born with a birth defect called Bilateral Microtia ("little ears") and Atresia (no open ear canals) and is legally deaf. While he appeared to be healthy otherwise, two hours after Manny was discharged from the Beaver Dam hospital, he returned back to the Emergency Room as he appeared to be choking when he ate. He was admitted to Beaver Dam Hospital and then transferred to the UW Children's Hospital the following day.
Manny was diagnosed with Tracheoesophageal Fistula or "TE Fistula." This condition means that he had a "fistula" or connection between his trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (food tube). This condition explains why Manny would choke when he ate; the food would go through the fistula to his lungs, instead of his stomach, causing him to aspirate. Manny had major surgery when he was 5 days old at UWCH to remove this fistula. Besides the Surgery team, Manny got to meet various specialists throughout his 8 day stay at UWCH (Genetics, ENT, Audiology, Pediatrics, Neurology, Cardiology, Opthamology) and went through extensive testing (CT scans, X-rays, EKG's, Ultrasounds, Blood Tests to name a few). Manny will continue to have follow up appointments with many of these specialists throughout the years, but his prognosis in all areas are good.
When Manny was a month old he underwent a specialized hearing exam at UW to test for inner ear functionality and happily, he does have inner ear hearing. Manny has worn a bone conduction hearing aid since then to help him hear. Now, a few years later, Manny recently underwent two major 11 hour surgeries (April, 2011 and August, 2011) at age 4.5 to create two Big Boy Ears! While he has a few more surgeries to go, Manny is a very happy and healthy boy! The entire Wilke family is so proud to be part of the Greater Bucky Open.