Jase Leister is one of Missoula’s youngest residents… though he’s only eight months old, he has already had two open heart surgeries and two airway surgeries and there are many more surgeries to come. Jase’s mom Ashley says she expects Jase will have at least six more surgeries before he turns two.

“My son was born back in January and he was diagnosed with Apert syndrome,” Leister said. “It causes premature fusion of the skull bone, fusion of the fingers and the toes, his hands kind of look like little mittens, under developed facial bones, which causes all kinds of problems with breathing and eating.”

Not only does Jase suffer from Apert Syndrom, he also has Shone’s syndrome which effects his heart. The medical care is covered by insurance, but the constant need to travel for the surgeries is causing a big burden on Jase’s parents and two siblings.

“I would guess that he has racked up millions of dollars in medical bills,” Leister said. “Thankfully he is covered under Medicaid for disabled children. I can’t even imagine. Getting down there, missed wages, child care for our other two kids while we are gone, all that stuff kind of just piles up.”

A benefit for Jase will be held at the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center this Thursday, from 4:00 to 6:30. Jase is at home in Missoula now but will be flying back for surgery on his skull at the end of October.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Liester
Photo courtesy of Ashley Leister