A recent story in The Times is capturing the hearts of parents. It is gut-wrenching to watch a child suffer with a life-threatening illness. Yet, there are thousands of parents who are faced with that predicament right now. But this story has a happy ending.
Adelyn, whose nickname is Addie, is a four-year old little girl who had undergone five open-heart surgeries before she turned one.
According to an article at The Times written by Deborah Laverty, at birth, “Doctors suspected Addie had a heart problem so an echo-cardiogram was performed at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago which revealed her mitral valves were bad according to Allen Hughes, the child’s father. At only 8 weeks, Addie had her first open-heart surgery to repair her partial atrioventricular septal defect, or ASVD (a term for a group of rare heart defects that are present at birth).”
After her first birthday, Addie received her sixth open-heart surgery. The road has not been easy for little Addie or her concerned parents who prayed continuously for their child who experienced other complications. She had mechanical valve replacements and an appendage sitting on her heart was removed. Addie suffered with aspiration and pneumonia and a G-tube was inserted for feeding.
Addie’s mother, Becky, was quoted in The Times as saying, “Initially she wasn’t eligible to be on the heart transplant list because of a pulmonary hypertension condition.” Addie endured yet another surgery which reduced the pressure, allowing Addie’s name to be placed on the heart transplant list in early November 2020.
And the wait began. On September. 15, 2021, the family got “the call” that is all too familiar for transplanted patients. There was a possible match, but the family’s optimism turned to despair as they learned the donor was not a match for Addie yet they prayed for the lost life of a child. Four days later, they received another call and on September 20, 2021 Addie was given a new heart and a chance at life
After spending a year away from home, confined to a hospital, Addie was able to come home. She is making plans to go trick or treating dressed as her favorite cartoon character, a mermaid. She was so excited to come home. Her mother said that on the way from the hospital in Chicago to her home in Valparaiso, “Every time I’d stop for a light she’d yell from her car seat in the back: ‘Go. I want to go home,’” according to The Times article.
Since her transplant, Addie will be on 20 different medications and make weekly trips to be seen by her doctor . . . another fact of life for transplanted patients.
The brown-hair, brown-eyed little girl described by her parents as “spunky,” is already looking forward to attending preschool next year, but for right now, she’s having a ball playing with her siblings and being back home.
According to The Times, “The heart, donated from another family, who lost their child, saved Addie’s life and for that her parents are grateful.
Her parents said, ‘We’re thankful to have had the opportunity for a heart. We are thankful to the family who thought about another kid and giving life to another kid. Addie wouldn’t have lived if she didn’t get a heart.’”
According to organdonor.gov website, most children, ages 1 to 10, who are waiting to be transplanted need a kidney or liver, followed by a heart. There remains over 106,000 women, men, and children on the national transplant waiting list. If you (or a loved one) have been placed on the waiting list but is experiencing financial barriers that prevent or delay receiving a life-saving transplant please know, there’s no need to face it alone. Contact the National Foundation for Transplants. We may be able to help. If you wish to support NFT’s lifesaving work, we would welcome your contribution..