Problem Solvers: Baby with brain tumor needs special car seat

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THORNTON, Colo. -- Owen McLaughlin looks like a normal 22-month-old boy, but his life has been anything but, so far.

“I get scared about the future and about him,” Owen’s mother, Rachel Hurtado said.

Owen was diagnosed with a progressive and in-operable brain tumor shortly after his first birthday. Because of the mass and the resulting fluid collecting in his brain, Owen’s head is enlarged and his weight has skyrocketed to over 40 pounds. Unlike most children his age, Owen does not talk and sometimes he stops breathing.

“The number one thing we want for him is to be normal and not in pain,” Hurtado said.

Hurtado had to quit her job to become Owen’s full time caregiver. She applied for social security disability on Owen’s behalf in July of 2015, to help pay for some of his medical expenses. But social security told Hurtado it could be another 6 months before her son’s benefits are approved. It’s time, Hurtado says, Owen may not have.

“In a couple months everything could change. The tumor could grow,” said Hurtado.

In the meantime, doctors have advised Hurtado to buy Owen a specially designed car seat and other equipment to help the toddler hold up his heavy head, and improve his quality of life.

“When he is in the car seat, he puts his head down and he's having breathing problems,” said Hurtado.

But with no job and Owen’s benefits caught up in federal red tape, her only option is to reach out to the FOX31 Problem Solvers and hope the community can help the little boy who is so full of his, despite his devastating condition.

The Problem Solvers reached out to a Social Security spokesperson to see if the benefit process could be sped up for Owen. We received an email from a different spokesperson explaining the “general policy” on the application process, the email failed to address Owen’s imminent heath issues.

In the meantime, Owen’s mother has set up a GoFundMe page for her son.