Unmasked founded in Sioux Falls, SD, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit for NICU support and PICU support.
Rick and Aubrey's Unmasked story starts with their first son, Wyatt Nathan Arthur, who was born January 2013. Aubrey's pregnancy was going smoothly until 27 weeks when she found herself on immediate bed rest with a blood pressure of 200/110. Her protein level also increased from 40 - 400 - 4000 - 9000 - meaning emergency C-Section. Wyatt spent the first 81 days in the NICU.With the NICU support he was considered a feeder and a grower. When Aubrey got pregnant with their second son, they never expected their medical journey to continue.
Colton Paul, Rick and Aubrey's second son, started life as a fighter. At the 16 week ultrasound, Rick and Aubrey were told the baby would not survive because the baby did not have any visible brain anatomy or spine. At the 20 week ultrasound, where they were prepared to deliver a stillborn baby, the technician found an entire baby, but the news didn't stop there. At that same ultrasound, the OB-GYN informed us Colton had a rare heart defect, which would take them over five states away. Colton was born on July 3, 2014 in Sioux Falls with over 20 diagnoses (including Truncus Arteriosus Type 2, ASD, VSD, and VaCTerL). At just three days old, Aubrey and Colton were care-flighted to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI, where they met Rick and prepared for open heart surgery. Colton had his first open heart surgery at seven days old, followed by his second and third at three weeks old and number 4 at 6 months old. At one month old he had a tracheotomy and gastronomy. Colton lived in the Sanford Hospital NICU, for over eight months before moving to a local rehabilitation facility. He lived there for a few months before coming home just before his first birthday. During his first year of life, we were told that Colton would never walk, talk, or function outside of a rehab facility. Today, Colton is a happy, overall healthy 6 year old who keeps mom and dad on their toes.
The journey for this family doesn't end, it is a forever journey; however, this family knows what it is like to wonder where you will sleep at night, or what you will eat, or when you will get to spend time with your other children and for that Rick and Aubrey are here to help.
That is the short story of why Aubrey and Rick started a nonprofit, with the goal of helping those who find themselves or their loved ones in need.
Colton (left) 5 years old (55 Surgeries)
Wyatt (right) 7 years old (born at 27 weeks)