Hospital flooded with affection for local boy

A Charleston Police officer greets Simms Daniels at MUSC; mom Lacey Daniels at right. MUSC PHOTO

Simms’ brother Wilson, 7, set up a lemonade stand at the Daniels’ Hartsvile home to raise money for Simms. PHOTO COURTESY DANIELS FAMILY

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

editor@newsandpress.net

For Wes and Lacey Daniels of Hartsville, it’s all been a little … overwhelming. More than a month ago, their youngest son, Simms, 4, had to return to MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in Charleston because of a congenital heart problem. It’s his fourth extended hospitalization; he’s had three open-heart surgeries. Word got out that Simms, who likes getting cards, wanted everybody to send him a get-well card. After TV stations and the Internet picked up the story, he got between 1,500 and 2,000 cards from around the world, said his father, Wes, 40. Then his older brother Wilson, 7, back home in Hartsville, set up a lemonade stand to raise money for his brother. After a couple of hours, Wes Daniels said, Wilson took in $700. Donations jumped to $1,200 after the story went online; the funds have been donated to MUSC. Soon, Simms got a visit from the Charleston Police Department’s SWAT and bomb teams. They rolled up outside the hospital in nine vehicles, bearing a big blue poster-size get-well card and a gift bag. “You see all these tough guys here? We wish we were as tough as you,” Sgt. Sean Engles told Simms. Wes Daniels, who works for the University of South Carolina, said the outpouring of affection and attention has been a humbling experience for him and his wife Lacey, 35, who works for Novolex in Hartsville. “I think we’ve been a little overwhelmed,” he said. “It’s kind of humbled us.” “We’re doing OK,” Daniels said. “This is not our first rodeo.” Simms was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome — the structures on the left side of his heart didn’t develop properly. To deal with that, he’s had three operations. He’s not facing another surgery this time, though. He’s back in the hospital to deal with setbacks such as fluid buildup. This time, he’s been mobile enough to come down and greet the Charleston SWAT team on the street. Wes Daniels said Simms might be out of the hospital soon. “He’s doing better every day.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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