TAUNTON — First they donated more than 100 shifts so that Taunton Police Officer Jeremy Derosier could be with his 15-month-old son, Bryce, in the ICU.
Now, his fellow officers are helping do whatever it takes to bring Bryce home.
“Talk about a band of brothers and sisters. They’ve been incredible. Everyone has surrounded us with such love,” said Bryce’s mother, Jamie Derosier, who has been living in Boston since February when Bryce suffered a 20-hour seizure and was taken to Children’s Hospital.
On Sunday, members of the Taunton Police Department went to the Derosiers’ home in Norton to deliver and install a special medical crib donated by Morton Hospital in response to a search initiated by Taunton officers and their family members.
Without the crib, the Derosiers would not be able to bring Bryce home safely, Jamie said Monday.
“My heart is telling me to bring him home and I believe Bryce is telling me to bring him home. So that’s what we are going to do,” Jamie said.
Bryce and his sister, Aubriella, who is almost 3 years old, both have a severe form of mitochondrial disease, which can cause poor growth, loss of muscle coordination, muscle weakness and neurological problems, including seizures.
On Feb. 21, Bryce suffered a terrifying seizure, his whole little body convulsing for hours. Jamie said she’s never felt so helpless.
Bryce was transferred to Children’s Hospital but the seizures continued until finally doctors had to put him in a medically induced coma to let his brain rest, Jamie said.
It took many weeks for him to awaken but her baby isn’t nicknamed “All Mighty Brycey” for nothing. He is a fighter, Jamie said.
He worked hard to get better and graduated from the ICU to the neurological floor and in April was finally stable enough to be transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown.
That was a huge triumph.
But it was followed by heartbreak, Jamie said.
Bryce contracted an infection just one week later and was transferred back to Children’s Hospital.
And then on April 21, doctors took the Derosiers aside and broke the news to them that Bryce is suffering from liver failure, Jamie said.
There is no treatment and no possibility of a transplant because the disease would damage a new liver, too, and Bryce’s little body could not withstand the surgery, Jamie said. Jamie said they were told they will likely have several more months with Bryce.
“We are still praying for a miracle. If anyone can give us a miracle it’s Bryce,” Jamie said.
In the meantime, they want to make the most of every moment they have with Bryce because he is such a joy to be around even in times of sorrow.
He has always seemed determined to write his own story and his family wants to help him write this chapter as well by bringing him home, Jamie said.
“I think he’s taught us a lot, how to be more present in our lives. Watching the way he goes through these horrible struggles is inspiring. It makes you realize what’s really important — family and love and being kind,” Jamie said.
Jamie said her son will always be All Mighty Brycey no matter what the future holds because he has a smile that conquers everything - the kind that lights up the room and melts your heart.
One of the true blessings of the last couple of months has been seeing that smile again. As he struggled to come out of the coma, they didn’t know if he would ever smile that way again. So, each and every time he does is a gift that nothing can ever take away, Jamie said.
And the master of eliciting those legendary smiles is Jeremy, Jamie said.
“My husband can make anyone smile. He’s got the best sense of humor. That’s really what’s getting us through this,” Jamie said.
“I always try to see the positive. Otherwise, how would you get out of bed in the morning?” Jamie said.
“I have my little boy with me today. That’s what matters. We’re living in the moment.”
On Monday morning, the Derosiers got more bad news. In addition to the concern over his liver, Bryce has a blockage in his bowel, making it touch and go whether he can go home just yet, Jamie said.
But Jamie is not giving up. She is swinging into patient advocate mode — she calls herself a “momocate.”
She knows Bryce can’t go home while he is critically ill. The Derosiers’ insurance only covers 50 hours of nursing care a month at home, not the 24/7 care he’s getting in the hospital.
But she also doesn’t want to wait until his doctors say he is too ill to go home at all.
And she has a very special date in mind.
Aubriella’s birthday is June 26. Bryce didn’t get to celebrate his birthday three months ago because he was in the hospital. So she’d like to throw a joint party for them on June 26 — celebrating Aubriella’s third birthday and Bryce’s first birthday.
“We want this time at home with him. What’s best for all four of us is to be under one roof,” Jamie said.
“The outcome won’t change, but the time we have together can be beautiful.”
For the GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of Bryce’s care visit https://www.gofundme.com/all-mighty-brycey.