A benefit is planned Sept. 16 for 6-month-old Ayden Ray Johnson.

The event will be held at the Ellis County Expo Center, located next to the Cowboy Church of Ellis County on U.S. Highway 287.

Ayden, who was born Feb. 22 to Travis and Stacy Johnson, was diagnosed with truncus arateriosus, a heart defect with four degrees of severity, with Ayden’s condition being the least severe.

There is no known cause for truncus arteriosus and reports indicate that 1 percent of infants born in the United States have some form of heart defect.

“Ayden is doing much better for now, but he is beginning to show some signs of his tri-cuspid valve (a flap) not opening and closing properly,” said Stacy Johnson, Ayden’s mother. “This is due to scar tissue beside that flap. He is showing some swelling in his stomach and real bad acid reflux, which they said was some symptoms of his truncus arateriosus not opening and closing properly.”

Ayden underwent more than nine hours of surgery as a result of the complications caused from his condition.

He remained in the hospital for 33 days, but Travis and Stacy were relieved that the surgeries and hospital stay were covered by their group health insurance plan.

Stacy said Ayden is at home and is happy and active.

“He looks like any normal baby - when we are at the store, he smiles and laughs at everybody,” Stacy said. “But he will need two more surgeries in the coming years and it’s gong to cost millions.”

A tiny hole appeared in the infant’s heart not long after he left the hospital - and it is being scanned three times a day.

“So far it hasn’t changed in size,” Stacy said. “In another week, we will go in for an echo-cardiogram.”

Ayden’s 6-year-old sister, Makayla, knows her little brother has some health problems, with Stacy saying, “We just explain it to her by saying that it is similar to her having her tonsils and adenoids out last year and she seems to be fine with it.”

The benefit is from 3-9 p.m. The minimum donation is $25 per ticket and information on pre-sale tickets is available by calling (214) 202-5610. Children 12 years and younger will be admitted free.

The music begins at 4 p.m. with Fallon Franklin and Blake Powers, Bart Crow Band and Eleven Hundred Springs.

Also included in the activities are a silent auction from 3-7 p.m., a live auction at 7 p.m., poker tables, raffle, bounce house, face painting and pony rides. Items are being accepted for the raffle and Brooke Nelson, who is spearheading the event, said donations of money or items for the auction are greatly appreciated.

Included on the menu are smoked brisket, smoked beans and potato salad.

A nonprofit fund for Ayden has been set up at Citizens National bank, listed in the name of “Stephanie Lonon for the benefit of Ayden Ray Johnson.”

For any questions concerning the nonprofit fund, contact Lonon at (972) 351-5232 or write Citizens National Bank, P.O. Box 717, Waxahachie, TX 75168, attention: Stephanie Lonon.

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@waxahachiedailylight.com