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October 27, 2006

Taegan's Angels

Dora Anderson
Arlington Elementary PTO
Arlington Elementary Staff
Alan & Natalie Armstrong
Scott & Lori Armstrong
Annette Ashbrook
Don & Carol Augsburger
Jeff & Cara Ball

Brooke Barber
Barry & Tammy Bentman
Chad & Julie Bertel
Carol Bledsoe
Anton & Dawn Blender
Blue Haven Pools & Spas
Jennifer Bryon

Kathy Burlingame
Ruth Carpenter
Christian Cinque
Kathy Cleaver
Combs Chiropractic
Richard & Susan Colclesser
Paul & Clara Crosby
Lillian Davis
Penny Day
Mitch & MaryLu Davis
Dan Dobbs
William & Linda Dreibelbis
Eagles Club of Fairfield, OH (Men's)
Eagles Club of Fairfield, OH (Women's)

Mary Ann Ernstes
Ronna Flynn
Caleb France
Adina Francis
Lori Gilley
Niki Glover
Charles Green
Tracy Guilbeau

Erika Hackman
Tammie Lee Hall
Donna Hale
Dean Hicks
Kim Hobson
Kathy Huffman
Lucy Jakad
Debbie Jack
Katy Johnson & Chick-fil-A (Greenwood)
Karen Kamman
Judy Kirkland
Wilda Kruzinski

Calley Kuczek
Don & Laurie Leone

Christine Lindstrom
Mary Ann Mack

Patti McCullough
Edie McDonnel
Pat & Sandy McFarland
Ruth McGregor
Jerry & Kim Midkiff
Sherry Mirowski
Terry & Julie Morris
Kelly Mortimer
Richard Oakland

Tom & Debra Partridge
Terri Pedigo
Christina Proffer
Jan Pulsford

Nancy Puorro
Lisa Reynolds
Wendy Robinson

Jamie Ross
Paula Ross
Karen Harrell-Rudolph
Linda Salfer
Mark & Darlene Schofield
Beth Small
Janet Smith
Patricia Smith
Scott Smolin
Karen Spangler
Tootie Stewart
Laura Stewart
Elaine Taylor

Mark & Carla Thill
Great Grandma & Grandpa Thorpe
James Townsley
Teresa Tuchek
University Heights Health and Living Center
Mary VanNoy

Eric & Trish Visa

Jean Wehling
David & Eleanor Windisch
Mary Kay Woolsey
Kim & Jeff Wright
Yard Signs Inc. (Owner: Tracey) 736-SIGN

October 14, 2006

Raffle To Benefit Taegan

The Eagles Club in Fairfield, OH is having a raffle on October 28th, with proceeds benefiting the Angels4Taegan Fund.

Many thanks to Cara and Jeff Ball for donating items for the raffle. They have been instrumental in raising awareness for Taegan's cause throughout their community in Ohio. The Cole Center for Healing is located a few miles from their house! They have graciously opened their home to Taegan and I when the time comes for Taegan to be treated there. :-)

Local Newspaper Published Taegan's Story

Our county newspaper, The Daily Journal, published an article on October 9, 2006 about Taegan and the portable hyperbaric oxygen treatment chamber that we were allowed to use at our home for a few weeks. Below is an abbreviated version of the article. Photos taken by Scott Roberson.

By CANDACE BEATY Staff writer Oct. 9 ,2006

When 2-year-old Taegan McFarland crawls into the treatment chamber in her Greenwood home, it's called a tent. For her mom, Michelle McFarland, it's a machine that could help her little girl lead a more normal life.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are often used by athletes to speed recovery from injuries and by people with diabetes. Taegan uses it to treat her cerebral palsy.

The machine increases the barometric pressure inside the chamber, which allows a higher level of oxygen than the air we breathe to be pumped in.

The portable machine reaches a 37 percent level of oxygen, encouraging blood flow, McFarland said. Regular air contains 21 percent oxygen.

The treatment allows more oxygen to reach more areas of the body, she said. The increase in oxygen allows dormant cells in Taegan's brain to became active.

After 11 one-hour sessions in the machine, McFarland said she could see considerable improvements in Taegan, who is 12 months to 15 months behind her peers developmentally.

Taegan may squirm a little as she crawls into her tent, but once inside she enjoys looking at her picture books, McFarland said.

The chamber is just large enough for McFarland to accompany her daughter to make sure she is OK. McFarland lies on her stomach while Taegan sits up at one end.

Taegan's type of cerebral palsy causes her to have stiff muscles in her legs. She wears leg braces to help get her feet flat on the ground, because the stiffness causes her feet to point straight down.

Her type of cerebral palsy also is linked with periventricular leukomalacia, which causes swelling in parts of her brain.

Taegan undergoes various physical therapy treatments weekly. Her mother said Taegan has faced developmental problems since complications led to her birth two months early.

When Taegan's doctors said she had cerebral palsy in August, McFarland started researching online for different treatment options. That's when she found information about the treatment, which she said many of Taegan's doctors knew little about.

Before Taegan started using the treatment, she would only take a few steps. Now, she walks across the living room, McFarland said. Taegan also started trying to talk more.

Her physical therapist, Joanna McGill, has noticed changes, too.

Taegan gained movement in her left ankle, her biggest problem area, McGill said. Before the treatments, Taegan would scream and cry when doing stretches on her legs. Now, Taegan has become more comfortable with the stretches and can put both heels on the ground, McGill said.

Despite the treatment's apparent success, McFarland said insurance companies don't cover the process. Hospitals also don't use it the treat cerebral palsy.

Since McFarland couldn't afford the treatments, she started saving money and looking into fund-raisers. A complete treatment of 40 one-hour sessions will cost at least $4,000, she said.

"You're just willing to try anything you can to help your child be the best they can be," she said.

Before she could raise enough money to fund the treatments, a friend's acquaintance heard about her plight and lent a portable machine for Taegan to use.

"It was divine intervention from God that brought it to me," McFarland said.

A friend knew someone in Ohio who bought a chamber for his wife to treat her diabetes. The friend asked if the McFarlands could come to his house and use the chamber.

Instead, the man allowed the McFarlands to keep it for three weeks.

The treatment can be done with portable chambers or at some hospitals. The hospitals' chambers are larger and fill with 100 percent oxygen, compared to the portable chamber's 37 percent.

The McFarlands returned the chamber to its owner Saturday. Now, McFarland is looking for ways to continue the treatments.

Taegan used the chamber 11 times, less than half the length of a usual treatment.

McFarland started a couple of Web sites hoping to find someone to help pay for the medical bills.

Michelle and her husband Shawn McFarland have struggled financially since she was put on bed rest during pregnancy and had to quit working. With medical bills that insurance wouldn't cover piling up, Shawn works two jobs to make ends meet.

While various treatments have helped Taegan, it's too early to tell what development problems she may face, Michelle McFarland said. She may face vision and hearing problems, continuing developmental delay or seizures.

McFarland hopes she can continue the treatment for Taegan while she is young. Since her body is still developing, treatments before the age of 5 will be the most effective, she said.

"I have high hopes that this will help her so it lessens her physical limitations," she said.


What is hyperbaric oxygen treatment?

The treatment consists of placing the patient in an enclosed chamber with increased atmospheric pressure and a higher oxygen level. The portable treatment chamber Taegan used raises the oxygen level to 37 percent. Chambers at hospitals or treatment centers are filled with pure oxygen.

The increased oxygen allows areas of the body that don't usually get a lot of oxygen more access to it. The increased oxygen helps decrease swelling, encourage blood flow and promote new blood vessel growth.

Who uses it?

At hospitals, the treatment is used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, exceptional blood loss, cyanide poisoning, burns and some other conditions.

Elsewhere, the treatment is used to treat a wide range of conditions, including cerebral palsy, strokes, multiple sclerosis, heart attacks, fatigue, attention deficit disorder, autism, cancer and sports injuries.

For cerebral palsy patients, the oxygen helps decrease swelling in the brain and helps more blood reach it.

SOURCES: Michelle McFarland and The Cole Center for Healing

Divine Intervention & The Kindness of a Stranger

A few weeks ago, a complete stranger from Bluffton, Ohio heard about Taegan's situation and offered us the use of his portable hyperbaric oxygen chamber. It was Divine Intervention at its finest!

My mother, Taegan and I drove out to Bluffton (50 miles south of Toledo) and picked up the chamber with the intention of having Taegan receive 40 one hour sessions. It didn't quite work out that way, unfortunately.

After 9 treatments, I came down with a nasty upper respiratory illness and was unable to accompany Taegan into the chamber. I tried to, thinking it was just allergies, and unfortunately, blew out both my ear drums in the process.

Shawn tried, but was too tall for the chamber. Mom couldn't do it because of a sinus infection. My friend tried and Taegan wouldn't cooperate on that occasion. Shortly after that failed attempt, my friend came down with a cold as well. One of my mother's friends was able to accompany Taegan into the chamber for 2 additional treatments. Once I was on the mend, Taegan came down with a cold!!! It just seemed like a lost cause for a while! Taegan was able to receive 11 total treatments before we had to return the chamber to it's owner.

We have seen remarkable changes in Taegan after only 11 treatments in the soft shell chamber! Her high muscle tone in her left leg has decreased some, enough for her to stand flat footed occasionally. She has shown increased initiative to stand on her own and attempt steps independently! Her speech has improved dramatically as well! She babbles constantly now, and we've even heard a few 3 word sentences come from out of nowhere! Of course, we've never heard them repeated, but we did hear them!! One that she has said in the presence of one of her therapists was "I did it!" It almost brought tears to my eyes to hear her speaking like a 2 year old should.

What this experience has provided us with is HOPE. Witnessing these changes in our daughter after only 11 treatments in a SOFT SHELL chamber (which has 32% oxygen as compared to HARD SHELL chambers in a clinic, that offer 100% oxygen), we cannot wait to see the changes that will occur with Taegan after 40 treatments in a hard shell chamber!! I am so thrilled to have found the Cole Center for Healing in Cincinnati. They offer 40 treatments in a hard shell chamber for $4,400. That is so much more attainable than $10,000!!!

We tried to apply for a loan last week for that amount, but were denied. That was not a big surprise. These last 2 1/2 years without me working have taken a toll on us financially. But, I have faith that things will all work out as they should... all in divine timing.

I'd like to publicly thank Donald and Carol Augsburger of Bluffton, OH for their kindness and generosity. They donated the use of their soft shell hyperbaric oxygen chamber to Taegan for 3 1/2 weeks. Thank you for being one of Taegan's Earth Angels, and for providing us with renewed faith in the kindness of strangers. Thank you for allowing us to experience the joy of renewed hope - - that Taegan will eventually be able to live a full life, having the complete use of her legs!

October 6, 2006

The Cole Center for Healing

Great news!!!

We found a hyperbaric oxygen therapy clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio that just recently opened. The best part about this clinic is that the prices are extremely reasonable!!! If you pre-pay for 40 sessions, the cost is only $4,400. I say "ONLY" because in all the research I have done over the past several months, the approximate cost for the same amount of treatments at a clinic or in a hospital is $10,000.

I have been unable to locate a clinic in Indiana. I have heard mention of plans for one to be built in the Carmel area though. As far as obtaining HBO in the hospitals here, they are hard to locate. One of Indy's largest hospitals (St. Francis) pulled their 2 HBO chambers last year. We were told that the HBO chambers were not cost effective for the hospital as a result of the multitude of changes that have recently taken place in the Medicare program.

Another wonderful thing about the Cole Center is that they have an MD on staff who evaluates each patient prior to receiving the HBO treatment, and this MD actually will prescribe the HBO treatment there at the center.

It is somewhat of a daunting task to find a physician who is willing to prescribe HBO for a cerebral palsy diagnosis. At least, in my experience, that has been the case. Taegan's pediatrician however, has been supportive and has always been willing to work with us to find Taegan the most beneficial therapies and specialists.

If anyone is interested in reading more about the clinic, their web sites are: and

If anyone is interested in reading an informative article about why HBO is not more widely known and accepted by physicians as an intricate part of the healing process for a variety of dysfunction, click here:

In the meantime, I'm hoping we can raise the $4,400 necessary for the treatments by the beginning of 2007! I'm still in the process of setting up several restaurant fund raisers... We are also organizing an ebay auction. One of the items to be auctioned off will be an original drawing from local artist Adina Francis. Watch this blog site for information on those upcoming events.

Thank you to everyone for your kindness, love, and support.