Saturday walk will help local boy, St. Jude’s

Published 1:23 am Saturday, October 3, 2015

The “St. Jude’s Walk for Childhood Cancer, Adam’s Warriors” is this Saturday, Oct. 3, at Bogalusa’s Goodyear Park from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m. The walk will benefit 2-year-old Adam McMillan of Angie, the son of Joanna and John McMillan.

The donation is $2 per lap per walker. Those who are unable to walk the laps may make donations, and a replacement walker will be found. Also, personal donations may be made to or

For any questions, contact Joanna McMillan at 985-750-7138 or

“I’ve always wanted to try and give back to St. Jude,” Joanna said. “They did so much for us at the hospital. A friend contacted me and I said I wanted to do something to give back like a walk for St. Jude’s.”

Joanna said her friend will take part in a Warrior Dash, while Joanna will participate in the Adam’s Warriors walk. Proceeds from both events will go to St. Jude’s.

Adam was born on Jan. 10, 2013, and his struggle started just hours after he was born. While undergoing a routine circumcision procedure, he stopped breathing. Doctors were immediately to get him back and on the ventilator, but he was in critical condition.

“I just fell to my knees after he was diagnosed the next day,” Joanna said.

During this time, his parents have no idea what has happened. Adam was immediately transported to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, with John close behind. Joanna had to stay behind, because she had just had a Cesarean section.

As soon as he got to Children’s Hospital, doctors started performing tests and soon discovered the problem. Adam has TAPVR (Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return) and also a large hole in his heart. TAPVR is a condition where the four main pulmonary arteries are malpositioned on the heart, therefore oxygen is not being circulated properly and the mortality rate is very high. However, the hole in his heart was allowing oxygen to enter the bloodstream and was miraculously keeping him alive.

Since he was so small the doctors could not operate on him immediately, so they waited a few weeks so he could get stronger.

After weeks of watching him through the glass, it was time for John and Joanna to kiss their boy and see him off for surgery. It was a surgery that lasted nine hours. The doctors performed the surgery successfully and little Adam spent the next three months in the hospital.

Now, two years and dozens of doctors’ visits later, Adam still has struggles. He has trouble with reflux and therefore doesn’t eat much. But he still continues to persevere and grow stronger every day.

Joanna said that Adam may not personally be a patient of St. Jude’s, but he is among the purest of examples of what the hospital embodies.