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9:24 PM Thu, Sept. 20th

Mortimer's corn maze honors Phoenix Children's Hospital

Hayden Mortimer

Hayden Mortimer

The 25-acre corn maze this year at Mortimer Family Farms Pumpkin Festival depicts a child in a wheelchair and the words "Phoenix Children's Hospital." Sharla Mortimer, co-owner, said she arrived at the idea for the maze based on an incident with her son, Hayden, almost 14 years ago.

At nine months of age, Hayden suffered an intussusception, an abdominal condition that happens when one section of the intestine folds into the next, much like a collapsible telescope. It usually occurs in infants during their first 18 months, striking more boys than girls, and can be a medical emergency.

For Hayden, it began suddenly with symptoms of pain, vomiting, uncontrollable bowel movements, and lethargy. After nearly five hours in the emergency room in Prescott, doctors finally made the diagnosis. Unfortunately, there were no doctors available who were familiar with, or who could treat, intussusception. So he was transferred to Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH) where he underwent a successful three-hour surgery.

Today Hayden is a healthy, typical 15-year-old, his mother said, and the family remains grateful to the PCH doctors and staff.

"They do a fantastic job taking care of the whole family. It's an important facility for our state," Sharla Mortimer said.

The family will donate a portion of the $15 admission price to the Mortimer Family Farm's Pumpkin Festival and Corn Maze to the hospital. They have committed a minimum of $3,000, and will make a check presentation on Oct. 25.

The Pumpkin Festival takes place every weekend through October, and opens at 9 a.m., closing at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 6 p.m. on Sundays and Columbus Day. It is located at the corner of Highways 69 and 169 in Dewey-Humboldt.