St. Amant family receives help from community

Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 4:12pm

ST. AMANT, La (FOX44) — When Selena Himel was 20 weeks pregnant, she received some shocking news. Her unborn daughter was diagnosed with a rare birth defect.

"Something just didn't look right," says her husband, Bart. "I don't think we ever had a point where we said 'why us? Why this?' Our first instict was to learn as much as we can about this because feeling sorry for ourselves wasn't going to help our little girl."

Gabby Himel is one of 2,400 people in the United States with a disorder called OEIS Complex. "The bladder and the intestinal area and the abdominal wall were malformed when she was born," says Selena.

Gabby's bladder is on the outside of her body, and her pelvis didn't form properly. On the third day of her life, Gabby had her first surgery. It won't be her last.

"There's not always going to be a set schedule," explains Bart. "There's always going to be doctor's visit, doctor's visit, surgery, surgery."

The bills have already started to add up. "Our bill was $200,000 for the first three weeks [of her life,]" he says.

The family doesn't have to do it alone. Gabby's neighbors, friends, and family have come together to help raise money for her hospital bills. They're hosting a benefit, called "Giving for Gabby" on June 25th.

"It makes you realize that people still do great things," says Bart.

"People are donating stuff to this benefit that we've never even met," Selena adds.

On June 25th, all day, there will be jambalaya contests, minipot cookoffs, a washerboard tournament, and live music all day. There's also a live auction, where a very special, custom made golf cart will be given away. All of the proceeds will go towards Gabby's hospital bills.

The benefit runs 10am to midnight at the VFW Hall on Churchpoint Rd. in St. Amant.

Learn more about Gabby and the benefit at


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