Lessons in Love: Kameron and Kaydon

Kameron and Kaydon Manns

On March 31, 2010, Kameron and Kaydon Hayes were born to Brianna Manns at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago.

They were identical twins—closer than most. Kameron and Kaydon were conjoined twins, joined at the thorax and sharing a heart and liver. From the beginning their mother and medical professionals knew that their lives would be short and fraught with difficulties.

But Kameron and Kaydon defied odds. Everyone was surprised that they survived to celebrate their first birthday. But on Friday, August 13, they finally lost the battle they had fiercely fought. Their heart was beating erratically, and there was nothing more that the medical team could do.

Abortion Was Never an Option

When doctors discovered the complication during Brianna Manns’ pregnancy they talked to her about aborting them. But their mother said abortion was never an option. “I am a strong believer in not having abortions — very, very strong,” said Manns. “They are my babies. I had the feelings that any mother would have,” I wanted my children to experience life to the fullest, to whatever extent that it might be.”

Manns spent part of every day for the past 17 months at the hospital helping to care for her little boys, holding them and letting them know how much she loved them. Manns said the twins, her only children, lived a meaningful life and knew they were loved.

The boys’ maternal grandmother, Yolanda Butler-Hamer, never gave up hoping that somehow a solution could be found that would allow the boys to live. “Those babies (angels) came and taught us many valuable lessons: first, to love one another unconditionally,” she told friends and family in an email Friday after the boys had died.

Not surprisingly, the boys’ poor prognosis raised broader questions about the ethics of providing high-cost care to infants with little chance of survival. Hospital charges for the twins reached $5.6 million.

“The babies survived much longer than most of the providers anticipated, but it was also because they had intensive care for (almost) 17 months,” said Lisa Anderson-Shaw, the medical center’s clinical ethics consultant. “At the end of the day, when you think of this particular case, you have to ask: Should we have? And clearly the answers are going to be different for different people.”

Seeing Value in the Life of Every Child

Reading about the short lives of Kameron and Kaydon and seeing the picture in the Chicago Tribune of these two little troopers makes me feel sad and angry—sad that the boys’ family must suffer the loss of the lives of two children, and angry that so many people refuse to recognize the value in every life.

How many children were slaughtered in an abortion mill in the United States on Friday when Kameron and Kaydon took their last breath? Were those children mourned by anyone the way Brianna Manns mourns her boys?

The reality is that every child deserves to be born and to be loved. Sadly some children will die due to illness, accident or circumstances like Kameron and Kaydon faced. No child deserves to be killed.

The Pro-Life Action League was making arrangements to meet with Brianna Manns to see how we could help her bring her sons home from the hospital. That meeting was to have been today. Instead, Brianna is making arrangements for a funeral for Kameron and Kaydon. We join our prayers with hers and ask everyone who loves children to say a prayer for their family.

They serve as a shining example of the right response to kids at risk: Love them and care for them.

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