• 68°

Community rallies around family at vigil as baby recovers from near drowning

VIDALIA — A one-year-old who nearly drowned in a bathtub accident Saturday night is expected to make a full recovery the day after the community hosted a prayer vigil.

Nearly 100 people from church groups and friends and family members gathered outside the home of Dalton and Brittani Slade on Wednesday evening to pray and sing praise songs for Blaze Slade, who was found facedown in a bathtub with his 3-year-old sister approximately 6 p.m. Saturday while the children were at home with a sitter.

The child was treated at Merit Health Natchez and later airlifted to Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Alexandria where he was sedated and is being treated for seizures and pneumonia, family members said.

Jill Thomas, an extended family member, said an MRI on Thursday confirmed that Blaze had no brain damage from the incident and said he should make a full recovery.

“He is still under sedation and the doctors are going to start weaning him off the meds little by little so they don’t shock his system,” Thomas said. “He was moving around this morning and during the MRI he tried to open his eyes. We’re just so very thankful for everyone’s prayers and to God. … (The vigil) touched me and I felt like a different person when I left. Seeing so many people rejoicing and praying the way that they did and then to see this miracle happen — I’m just overwhelmed.”

During Wednesday’s prayer vigil, members of ChristLife River Church, the Vidalia Police Department and several other people from the community prayed together outside the Slades’ house and ChristLife’s praise and worship band led songs.

Teens and young adults of multiple denominations joined hands and lifted them into the air to pray for healing for baby Blaze.

“At this point, I don’t care about medical expenses,” Dalton said Wednesday night. “I just care about prayers for my son until he is well.”

A GoFundMe page was started by friends of the family to assist them with medical expenses called “Healing Blaze.” By Thursday, the page had accumulated nearly  $7,000 in donations.