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.

Brian, Beauden, and Juliana Baunkirchner wave at Lake Havasu City and Desert Hills Firefighters that are at the airport to greet them after their arrival. Jillian

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.

Juliana Baumkirchner reunites with her daughters Brianna and Brigitte at the airport in Lake Havasu City. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

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.

Brianna and Brigitte run to their mom, dad, and brother upon arrival at Lake Havasu City Airport. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

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.

Friends and family members of the Baumkirchners line the street to welcome them home. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“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.”

Lake Havasu City and Desert Hills Fire Departments escort the Baumkirchner family from the airport. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

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.

A wreath donated by Tina Stocking and Tux and Tulips is hung on the Baumkirchners’ door for when they return home before Christmas. photo courtesy Joann Gewecke

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.

Photo courtesy Nancy Judd

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 at Havasu 95 Speedway raised over $8,000 for Beauden Baumkirchner. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

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.

Mohave County Sherriff’s Department escort the Baumkirchner Family from the Lake Havasu City Airport Monday afternoon. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Brigitte and Brianna Baumkirchner wait for their parents and brother to arrive at Lake Havasu City Airport from San Diego, CA. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Juliana Baumkirchner hugs her daughters after arriving in Lake Havasu City. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Brian and Beauden Baumkirchner hugs Brianna after they arrive at the airport Monday afternoon. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Brian Baumkirchner holds his son Beauden after arriving in Lake Havasu City Monday. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Brian Baumkirchner hugs his daughter Brianna after getting home from San Diego, CA. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Mohave County Sherriff’s Department along with Lake Havasu City and Desert Hills Firefighters await the Baumkirchners arrival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jules Baumkirchner hugs her friend Angela Cox after arriving at the Lake Havasu Airport Monday. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Friends of the Baumkirchners wait to welcome them home Monday afternoon. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The Baumkirchner Family waves at friends and family as they leave the Lake Havasu City Airport to head home. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Friends of the Baumkirchners wait for them to get home Monday afternoon. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene


7 Responses to “Home For The Holidays Has Special Meaning For One Havasu Family”

  1. Avatar Joe says:

    Awesome and welcome home

  2. Avatar MaryJo says:

    This just made me cry. So happy they made it home in time for Christmas. My prayers are with them all at this time, I will be aware of any fund raisers in the future had not heard of any that have been held! Lake Havasu is such a wonderful giving community all the help that they have received is just so heart warming! Merry Christmas to this beautiful family🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

  3. Avatar Joann says:

    Wow, what a story. And what a scary thing to endure for your little boy and family. There are so many wonderful people in this world with all the bad. Merry Christmas to your family and plenty of prayers for all here in Colorado. God Bless

  4. Avatar Kevin Ward says:

    My wife who is battling brain and breast cancer said she is so glad that she could be there to see Beaudens arrival home and she wouldn’t have missed the return with his family for anything and is so glad they are all home. She also says Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the entire family.

  5. Avatar Debbie Fuller Nixa says:

    We r all so blessed to have u home if u could only read my heart wow! The excitement I have for this Family my insides r crying for u all . Please keep intouch with all ur Facebook Friends Last night I read nothing and I know how busy r and how busy u’ll be but once things settle down please write on Facebook it’s a must u write so beautifully and we love u and ur Family God Bless u all Debbie

  6. Avatar michele says:

    wow what a Christmas Miracle

  7. Avatar Silvia says:

    I’m so happy for this Beautiful Family,to come home,and have the whole family together once again, Havasu is just a reminder
    That people do care for each other here,

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