A child with rare lung disease helps others

(KPLC) One year has passed since a Jennings family was told their then three-year-old son, Joel, would likely not live through the year. Joel Belt has a rare, cureless lung disease and even though it has made his young body weak, he is still fighting today as his parents fight for more pediatric pulmonary hypertension research funding.

There have been a lot of changes in the Belt home over the past year. The family is in a new home and brothers Josiah, Judah and Joel are now home-schooled. This change was doctor-recommended to keep germ exposure low for four-year-old Joel, in the fight for his life with pulmonary hypertension (PH). “There has not been much worsening,” said mom, Lindsey, “but definitely no improvements, which has been kind of tough.”

Joel is on record doses of medication and has a 24-hour central line to his heart, pumping it full of drugs to keep his arteries open. “Because your heart works with your lungs to get oxygen and blood flowing through your body, it causes heart failure,” said Lindsey, “so the heart doesn’t get enough blood flow and oxygen, so it’s pumping overtime to get it to the rest of the body.”

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