Hundreds if not thousands of people packed into the Knights of Columbus in Quincy Sunday afternoon for the 4th annual
It's a day dedicated to CDH awareness and the life of Cadan Frericks. Cadan was just 12 days old when he died from a
congenital diaphragmatic hernia
back in 2008.
Since then, his parents have turned their loss into the largest fundraiser for CDH research in the Tri-State area.
"I think the grand total will be somewhere around $18,000 that we will be sending to St. Louis this year!" Tiffany Frericks, Cadan's mother said. Some of that money was raised even before the event this year.
"The most special part for me is meeting the CDH families, when they come up to me. And not just CDH families, but there's a lot of families here that have lost babies, even if it's not due to CDH, and I think it's a celebration whether our babies are with us or not, and that means a lot to all of us," Tiffany Frericks said.
"Cadan's Carnival means a lot to me. It's searching and research for CDH awareness and that's what my son had. I never knew what CDH was or had heard about Cadan's Carnival. But it's like, now, when you know, that's all you hear about," Nicole Luthin, a mother of a CDH survivor said.
CDH is a birth defect that affects one in 22 hundred babies. Once diagnosed, the baby has a 50/50 chance of survival.
"He's definitely our miracle baby," Luthin said.
More children are beating the odds thanks to new research and events like Cadan's Carnival. The Frericks credit a special team of surgeons at St. Louis Children's Hospital, including Cadan's doctor,
Sunday, he stood amidst the crowds waiting in line for face painting, farm animals and balloons. It was his very first Cadan's Carnival.
"This is really amazing. My wife and I were pulling up here and we saw all the cars and the whole complex and I kept saying to her, there's got to be something else going on here, this can't just be for Cadan's Carnival, but she said, no...this is it," Dr. Warner said.
Each year, the Frerick's give Dr. Warner and his team of CDH specialists the money raised from Cadan's Carnival. To date, more than $20,000.
"We're really excited about that, because obviously, he's the man behind this. He's the one that's going to make a difference," Frericks said.
"I really felt as though we connected a lot while caring for Cadan and the fact that they would continue to do this, I'm just blown away. I'm really overwhelmed," Dr. Warner said.
"I had no idea he'd make such a difference. It's really great. He's done a lot. I just told my husband last night, he's done a lot in his short little life and we're really proud," Frericks said.
During his time at Cadan's Carnival, Dr. Warner visited with many of the CDH survivors he'd once had in his care.
A camera crew from St. Louis Children's Hospital also made the trip to Quincy. They made their way through the crowds speaking to families who've overcome CDH with the help of doctors, like Dr. Warner.
They'll take these stories back to St. Louis and create documentaries on children who've received care at Children's Hospital.