By Becky Maxedon
This year has put a crimp in most family’s plans to be home for the holidays.
But for one Lake Havasu City family, coming home for Christmas means more than just celebrating the season. It is a celebration of life itself.
The Baumkirchner family set off on a fall vacation with friends near San Diego in early October when tragedy struck.
Their 3-year-old son Beauden had fallen and scraped his knee. And what followed was a nightmare no parents are prepared for.
Beauden developed a fever and after an urgent care visit, he was taken to San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with MSSA. “He is diagnosed with staph aureus/MSSA. Then sepsis. Then toxic shock syndrome. This is a pretty rare case of MSSA since his body went into toxic shock,” mom Juliana Baumkirchner said.
After some very touch-and-go moments and multiple surgeries that took his legs, the Baumkirchners brought Beauden home today.
And they are beyond happy about that.
“We are thrilled to finally be reunited with our daughters, and be close to our friends and family again,” Juliana Baumkirchner said.
She also said she has some trepidation about leaving the safety of the hospital.
“Beauden has been surrounded by incredible doctors and nurses for two and a half months. I personally have mixed feelings in leaving my little safety bubble and going back into the real world. But we are all looking forward to our little Christmas miracle in being all together again under one roof.”
Juliana Baumkirchner said Beauden will continue healing his legs for a few weeks after returning home. “Once his legs are healed, then it will be time for prosthetics. He will also be facing intensive occupational and physical therapy.”
She said Beauden is excited to see his sisters and play with his toys that he’s missed.
A generous Lake Havasu City resident donated a plane, fuel, and pilot to fly the family home.
Juliana Baumkirchner said Beauden loves planes and was ecstatic about his homeward-bound transportation.
The coronavirus pandemic has dictated much of what the family will experience once they get back home in Havasu.
“I know he’d love nothing more than to see his favorite little buddies. With COVID and his near-death experience, we are hunkering down at home and will be taking precautions very seriously in order to protect him. He has a chance of relapsing within the first couple weeks of coming home, the chances are very slim. But knowing that in the back of our heads, and seeing him at his very worst, makes us want to be uber cautious,” she said.
The Baumkirchner’s good friend Joanne Gewecke organized a special homecoming celebration for the family today.
“In the beginning when Beauden was still very very sick, I talked to Juls about when Beauden came home and how amazing that was going to be. Anything to get positive thoughts flowing,” Gewecke said.
“She said that she (Juliana) wanted tons of balloons! So, from that point on this just started.”
Gewecke said a friend came up with “Balloons For Beauden.” And balloons will line the Baumkerchner’s street for their return home. The Allie Palmieri family donated 500 balloons to the cause.
Printing Plus along with Sunrise Rotary Club donated a gift basket to Beauden’s sisters to make sure they were included in the festivities.
“The community has been so great with donating things like wreaths for their house, balloons and helium tanks, doing stuff to their air conditioning all the way to donating an airplane and fuel and a pilot’s time. The Havasu community has been so invested in Beauden’s story that this was a great way to make their arrival home easier and to show the community’s support,” she said.
Tux and Tulips and Tina Stocking donated a wreath for the house.
The community has also come together with its giving spirit with many fundraising efforts to help the Baumkirchner family.
“In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Lake Havasu community gave generously to Beauden Baumkirchner, the 3-year-old resident who recently had 17 surgeries including the amputation of his legs,” Nancy Judd said in an email of a wine raffle that raised $20,380. The raffle was organized with Steve Judd, managing partner from The Arroyos in the Havasu Foothills, with Thom Felke of Shugrues Restaurant.
Michelle Pounders, of Printing Plus, organized a drive-in movie fundraiser and between that and an ongoing chair raffle, more than $4,000 has been raised.
The chair raffle is for a traveling barstool. Raffle tickets are $1 each and sales continue through the first week of January. Tickets are available at Printing Plus, 2069 McCulloch Blvd.
A car show and raffle that was held recently at Havasu 95 Speedway raised $8,046 for Beauden. Christian Rods and Customs organized the event that involved 166 cars.
Members of local law enforcement were on hand to make the homecoming a dream for any little boy. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Department, River Medical The Lake Havasu City Fire and Police departments and the Desert Hills Fire Department all helped escort the Baumkirchner family home.