Meet WSA Kids With Heart

June Featured Kid - Kendra Ryan


Kendra Ryan when Kendra was 15 months old she fell ill with a high fever that was resistant to Tylenol. The lymph nodes in her neck were also swollen so severely she could not turn her heard from side to side and she refused to walk. Her symptoms persisted over the weekend and on the 5th day work up with bright red swollen, cracked, and bleeding lips. Her symptoms also included a "Strawberry" tongue and swollen hands and feet. Read more about our featured Kid With Heart Kendra.

Kids With Heart is a program that recognizes young local heart and stroke survivors who serve as ambassadors for the American Heart Association and inspiration for us all. Through sharing their story and encouraging others to support Jump Rope and Hoops For Heart, they are helping the American Heart Association build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. To join Kids With Heart share your story.

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Alaska

Otto Xavier Olson

Otto Xavier OlsonMeet Otto. Otto was born with a coronary heart disease (CHD) called Supra TAPVR. He was diagnosed and had life-saving open heart surgery at only 18 hours old. He was in the hospital for the first 2 weeks of his life. He had to see his pediatric cardiologist weekly, then monthly, then yearly, until he was 2 years old. Now he only has to visit his cardiologist every 2 years. He is now 7 years old, heart healthy and just like other kids his age. He loves school, playing with his friends, boy scouts, and riding his bicycle. He has to eat a healthy diet full of fruits, veggies, and heart healthy fats. He drinks a lot of water and stays active to keep his special heart strong and healthy. He stays involved in CHD awareness by telling his story to others and participating in Heart Walk and Jump rope for Heart. He raises awareness and support for CHD research so he can help other children and families with broken hearts like his.

Otto Xavier OlsonMeet Otto. Otto was born with a coronary heart disease (CHD) called Supra TAPVR. He was diagnosed and had life-saving open heart surgery at only 18 hours old. He was in the hospital for the first 2 weeks of his life. He had to see his pediatric cardiologist weekly, then monthly, then yearly, until he was 2 years old. Now he only has to visit his cardiologist every 2 years. He is now 7 years old, heart healthy and just like other kids his age. He loves school, playing with his friends, boy scouts, and riding his bicycle. He has to eat a healthy diet full of fruits, veggies, and heart healthy fats. He drinks a lot of water and stays active to keep his special heart strong and healthy. He stays involved in CHD awareness by telling his story to others and participating in Heart Walk and Jump rope for Heart. He raises awareness and support for CHD research so he can help other children and families with broken hearts like his.


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Arizona

Austin Lugo

Austin LugoMeet Austin. Austin had open heart surgery in June 2016 at age 8 due to his subaortic stenosis. He has been watched by a cardiologist since the age of 5 due to his pediatrician hearing a heart murmur at a wellness exam. He developed a growth/membrane in the chamber that leads to his lungs. The year before his surgery the growth grew causing a valve to leak. He went into congestive heart failure and had to have open heart surgery. He is now on the path to 100% recovery. His parents tell him everyday that his heart was so big and full of love that it needed to release to share the love with others.

Austin LugoMeet Austin. Austin had open heart surgery in June 2016 at age 8 due to his subaortic stenosis. He has been watched by a cardiologist since the age of 5 due to his pediatrician hearing a heart murmur at a wellness exam. He developed a growth/membrane in the chamber that leads to his lungs. The year before his surgery the growth grew causing a valve to leak. He went into congestive heart failure and had to have open heart surgery. He is now on the path to 100% recovery. His parents tell him everyday that his heart was so big and full of love that it needed to release to share the love with others.

Brody Villaman 01Meet Brody. Brody is almost 9 years old and is in the 3rd grade. When he was in his mom’s belly he was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, which means that he would be born with 4 things wrong with his heart. When he was 6 months old his cardiologist told his parents that it was time to repair his heart and that he would need surgery. On July 2, 2008 at only 7 months old Brody had his first open heart surgery. His parents always tell him how strong he is and how special his heart is! Now he has a cool scar that reminds him every day of how strong and brave he is.

Currently, he is very healthy and hasn’t had any problems but he knows that in the future he will need more surgeries. It is very scary to him but he knows he will be brave. Now every year his school does Jump Rope for Heart to help raise money for heart research to help other kids like him! In the past 2 years that he’s participated, he’s raised the most money out of his entire K-8 school! He is proud to be a Heart Warrior and wants other kids like him to be proud too.

Brooke MehlbergMeet Brooke. Brooke and her twin sister were born on June 5 2008. At only 1 day old, the pediatrician came into their room to perform and evaluation and noticed that Brooke had a heart murmur. The next morning, after some tests, her Ventricle Septal Defect (VSD) came to light. She wasn’t even 2 days old! The cardiologist at the hospital indicated that it would be wise for us to follow up with a children’s hospital. One month after we were released from the hospital we had our first follow up appointment with the cardiologist. He indicated that the hole in Brooke’s heart was not closing and surgery would be inevitable. Brooke was not gaining the weight or growing at the rate that her twin sister was, so the doctors were concerned that her condition was starting to alter her growth and progressions.

On November 25, 2008, Brooke was checked into Phoenix Children’s Hospital to have her open heart surgery performed. After 5 long hours, Brooke was out of surgery and in recovery. Brooke is a fighter and was trying everything in her power to remove her own lines (at just 5 months old!). the doctors even mentioned during their rounds that they had never seen an infant recover from surgery so fast. We spent that Thanksgiving in the hospital with her and she was released the next day.

Today she is a vibrant 7 year old leading a fun-filled life. She enjoys gymnastics and playing on an all girls football team with absolutely no physical restrictions. She does have to continue with her yearly checkups, but so far everything has been good!

Carson HansenMeet Carson.Carson is a 5 year old boy who was born with a congenital heart disease (CHD) known as Transposition of the Great Arteries. This means that when he was born he was not able to get oxygenated blood to his body. Because of his CHD he required life-saving open heart surgery when he was just 4 days old. His heart is still different than most other kid’s because it pumps blood in the opposite direction of a normal heart. He visits his cardiologist yearly to make sure his heart is still doing it’s job.

Today Carson is an active boy who loves to play baseball, soccer, and flag football. Although he is not allowed to be a catcher on his baseball team due to his heart, he can still play all the other positions and loves 1st base the most. His wish is that with each year doctors are able to learn more about CHDs through research and funding to help kids like him live long and healthy lives.

Devonee FarringtonMeet Devonee. Devonee was 5 months old when her family found out that she had a coarctation of her aorta and a bicuspid valve in her aorta as well. She would require surgery to fix her coarctation. She was 10 months old when she had surgery. Now she loves to run and play sports like other kids her age, but she has to see her cardiologist every year for check ups.

Jade Grijalva 01Meet Jade. Jade is 9 years old and was born with Pulmonary Valve Stenosis. Although it’s considered mild, she has to follow up with her cardiologist yearly. Jade also has type 1 diabetes. Jade is very active and maintains good eating habits in order to be as healthy as she can be. She loves fruits and vegetable, especially in the summer. Jade participated in an elementary school basketball tournament and was the only 4th grader to play as a starter for her team! She assisted her team in winning the championship and in being undefeated. She loves to jump on her pogo stick and pretty much nothing stops her from always doing what she loves. 
 
Jade participated in an elementary school basketball tournament and was the only 4th grader to play as a starter for her team! She assisted her team in winning the championship and in being undefeated. She loves to jump on her pogo stick and pretty much nothing stops her from always doing what she loves. Jade is also in the basketball winter league tournament in her town and trains daily at home and wit her team. She’s a straight A student and was named Student of the Month the first month of school. She’s a Student Council Representative at her school and sells concessions after school to help her school raise money.

She always loves helping others in need or with disabilities. She currently assists an autistic classmate who seems to work best while sitting next to Jade. She clarifies work he doesn’t understand and helps him calm down when he has an episode. She’s also a member of a type 1 diabetes support group in our town. She helps raise awareness and funds for the 5k JDRF Walk every year.

When Kyle was born on June 7, 2007, he had to stay in a special part of the hospital called the NICU due to some trouble breathing. When he was five days old a nurse noticed something different when she listened to Kyle’s heart. The doctors ran a special test called an echocardiogram, and they found that Kyle had a condition called Coarctation of the Aorta or CoA. It means that the aortic artery going away from the heart is smaller than it should be or it is twisted, so blood can’t flow through properly.

Kyle had to be moved to a special hospital by helicopter to have a surgery at six days old. When he was eight days old, Kyle had heart surgery that lasted over four hours. Kyle’s mom and dad were told that he would have to stay in the hospital for the next month. But, he got better so quickly, they were able to take him home less than a week later!

Kyle has regular checkups, and he is doing great! He still has his surgery scars on the left side of his back.

Madison StahlMeet Madison. Maddy is 8 years old and was born with a hole in her heart called atrial septal defect (ASD). Her heart also beats too fast sometimes so in March 2013, she had a procedure called a catheter ablation to fix her heart rhythm. She eventually had to have open heart surgery to repair the hole in her heart as well. After both operations, she needed a pacemaker to help her heart continue to beat normally. She gets her pacemaker checked every 3 months and the batteries will need to be changed after 6 years. Now she’s just a regular kid that loves to play, run, and draw. She is super healthy and has an extra cool heart.


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California

Alivia Gardner

Alivia GardnerMeet Alivia Gardner. Alivia is 5 years old now however, was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome; meaning she was born missing the left side of her heart. Luckily her mom and doctors knew this before Alivia was born to take measures to keep her as healthy as possible. She’s had 4 open heart surgeries and 9 cardiac catheterization.
 
Alivia’s favorite thing to do is color and paint. She likes to use watercolors and paints many pictures for her mom and dad. Her parents know firsthand what the American Heart Association has done for her and her family as well as witnessed the research done to help save little hearts like hers.

By participating in Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Alivia has helped bring awareness to the students, parents and teachers at her school of all the different ways they can help kids with heart defects.

Alivia GardnerMeet Alivia Gardner. Alivia is 5 years old now however, was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome; meaning she was born missing the left side of her heart. Luckily her mom and doctors knew this before Alivia was born to take measures to keep her as healthy as possible. She’s had 4 open heart surgeries and 9 cardiac catheterization.
 
Alivia’s favorite thing to do is color and paint. She likes to use watercolors and paints many pictures for her mom and dad. Her parents know firsthand what the American Heart Association has done for her and her family as well as witnessed the research done to help save little hearts like hers.

By participating in Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Alivia has helped bring awareness to the students, parents and teachers at her school of all the different ways they can help kids with heart defects.

Annabelle ProvisorMeet Anabelle. Twelve hours after Anabelle Provisor was born, a nurse’s assistant noticed she was having trouble nursing. “She would latch on, but was soon sleepy and lethargic,” recalled Arlene Provisor, Anabelle’s mom. A pulse oximetry reading – a diagnostic test mandated by most states for all newborns – showed Anabelle’s oxygen levels were low, and she was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.
 
Arlene and her husband Bruce weren’t able to see their newborn daughter until a few hours later. They found her intubated and hooked up to several I.V. lines and machines, as doctors tried to discover what was wrong.

"We were very emotional," she said.

Tests revealed Anabelle was born with a critical congenital heart defect in which the pulmonary artery and aorta are reversed, called d-transposition of the great arteries. Instead of oxygen-rich blood going from the lungs to the rest of the body, Anabelle's heart was sending it back to the lungs. 
You can read more of Anabelle's story here.

Bailey BeasleyMeet Bailey. Bailey is 8 years old. She lives with her parents and their 2 dogs. She was born 2 months early because her heart stopped beating. When she was two months old she had a very bad seizure and the doctors found that she had tachycardia and a hole in her heart. She spent 1 week in the hospital and then started to go to a children’s hospital in Oakland.

The doctor said that her heart beats faster than others. When she was 4 years old her doctors cleared her and told her to come back if she started to feel bad again. She knows how much worse things could’ve been and feels very lucky. With all her time spent in hospitals, she has seen many other kids who had to have surgery and still always have smiles on their faces.

When she was 5  years old, Bailey’s mom had a stroke. Bailey called 911 and was not scared because she know the doctors would take care of her mom just like they took care of her. Her mom is recovering and Bailey is grateful for every day they have together. Her wish for all the kids with heart issues is to stay strong and enjoy everyday.

Brandon CalvertMeet Brandon. Everyday Brandon wonders if his Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) will shock him to maintain a stable heartbeat.

He has known about his condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the muscle of the heart has been thickened, ever since he was two years old. As he reached young adulthood Brandon began to find out what kinds of problems occurred with his condition. Brandon’s heart would beat too fast out of nowhere, creating uncontrollable arrhythmia. Soon after this started happening, Brandon received an ICD implant that, if his heart started to beat uncontrollably, would shock him back to a normal rhythm. Only a week after the implant was put in place, it saved his life in the middle of the night.

“I know how hard fighting heart disease can be because it is an everyday struggle, and that is why I see no better reason to spread awareness and share my story,” says Brandon, who is currently enjoying his freshman year of college in Southern California.

Caden McCulloch 1Meet Caden. Caden is 7 years old and loves to ride his bike, swim, and play with friends. Doctors had to fix his heart when he was a baby and again when he was 4 years old. He is so happy to be doing well now and to be able to run and paly like normal kids.

Caleb Peltier Meet Caleb. At three days old, Caleb was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that he had critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). His organs were shutting down...he was dying.

Doctors were able to stabilize him for heart surgery at two weeks old and save his life.

Caleb was alive and on the road to recovery. He was out of the hospital in about 9 days. It has been a long road, including another open heart surgery and a lot of doctor appointments. Today, Caleb is a healthy, playful 3-year old. Doctors hope that he will never need another surgical correction and will be able to live a long, healthy, normal life. Caleb’s family is grateful for the work of the American Heart Association and the outstanding donors that have made their work possible. If it weren’t for this research and medical breakthroughs funded by the association, Caleb would not be alive.

While much research has been funded, more needs to be done to ensure that our loved ones are safeguarded from this deadly and debilitating killer. Caleb and his family invite you to think about those that you love so dearly in your life and what you would do for more time with them. His family encourages you to fund life-saving research by supporting the American Heart Association.

Cash SchartonMeet Cash. Before cash was born, doctors told his mom and dad that he had a heart condition called narrowing of the pulmonary valve. He was going to be fine but he was going to need to visit a cardiologist a lot in his first year of life. He’s not the only one in his family with a special heart – his dad has the same condition. Cash’s dad had surgery at age 15 to repair his pulmonary valve. Cash’s doctors think that Cash will not require surgery. He still visits his cardiologist at least once a year. Cash has to eat right and keep his heart healthy.
 
Having a special heart does not slow him down. He plays soccer, basketball, basketball, rides his bike, and skateboard. He’s excited that his heart is doing well and wishes that all kids could have the same outcome as him.

Charlie SkeltonMeet Charlie. At 22 weeks gestation, Charlie’s parent learned that Charlie would be born with a congenital heart defect. Later, she was diagnosed with hypo-plastic left heart syndrome, meaning she was missing the left side of her heart. At just 6 days old, Charlie had her first of 3 open heart surgeries. She came home at just 11 days post-op, which is almost unheard of.

The second surgery was much less breezy. The day before Thanksgiving 2014, just 10 days before Charlie’s 2nd surgery, she got blood clots and flat-lined. She ultimately needed a pacemaker at just 5 months old. Charlie was released from the hospital a few days before Christmas and her parents were informed that her left pulmonary artery wasn’t working properly and that Charlie would need to come back in 6 weeks to have a stent placed in her heart. The stent procedure was successful but it needs to be adjusted every 6 months to fit Charlie's growing heart.

Charlie is now a happy, constantly smiling kid despite spending more time in the hospital than most adults. She has over 21,000 followers on her Facebook page, Hearts for Charlie. Her family published a children’s book series called Charlie the Courageous about a little girl who finds strength through her heart scar and teaches other children to embrace each other’s differences.

Cuzack BoveMeet Cuzack Bové. Cuzack has a congenital heart defect called VSD, Ventricular Septum Defect. At birth, he was in the NICU and took Lasix for the first year and a half of his life with cardiologist visits, 3 to 4 times a month. Along with this heart defect he has had respiratory infections which kept him back and forth from the hospital regularly, at least 3 times a month. He was also later diagnosed with Asthma.

Cuzack is now 10 years old and since he was 6 years old, he's been going to a camp with other children with heart disease called Camp Del Corazon. He has a passion for soccer and even with his heart condition and asthma he loves to play and has been playing with AYSO since he was 4 years old.

His heart is doing much better now it appears that he will not not need any further surgeries. He does get sick more than most kids his age but he's a fighter with great friends and family who support him. In the future Cuzack would like to be an advocate for kids with heart conditions and help educate others. Jump Rope for Heart is a cause he is passionate about and this year Cuzack raised more money alone than the whole rest of the school goal combined. He is also making and selling rainbow looms with part of the proceeds going back the American Heart Association. Cuzack is a true hero to all those that his life touches!

Davey Pricket
Meet Davey Jean. Davey’s parents learned during pregnancy that their baby girl had a heart problem. At a routine 30 week pregnancy checkup and ultra sound, Davey’s parents learned that Davey would need open heart surgery. Davey had Tetralogy of Fallot, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, and absent pulmonary valve syndrome. Her parents were planning open heart surgery for their child who hadn’t even been born yet.

Upon her birth, Davey was immediately transferred to a children’s hospital. Despite Davey’s heart conditions, she was maintaining 100% oxygen levels and her parents were allowed to take her home. At 11 weeks old, Davey had a successful open-heart surgery.
 
Davey spent 28 days recovering in the hospital before she could go home. Although Davey is now living without a pulmonary valve, she is otherwise a healthy little girl. She will require another surgery in the future but her family is hopeful and determined.

Elijah PresaMeet Elijah. Elijah was born premature at only 23 weeks and weighing only 1 lb 6 oz. He had Patent Ductus Arteriosus. Doctors performed surgery on him at only 1 week old. Elijah remained in NICU for 5 months until he was healthy enough to go home. Now, Elijah is a happy and healthy 6 year old.

Ethan PottsMeet Ethan. Ethan was born with 3 congenital heart defects. When he was younger, he had to go to the emergency room and stay in the hospital a lot. He couldn’t be very physically active and spent most of his time watching other kids play – it wasn’t much fun. But the AHA helped change that! Thanks to medical procedures, first pioneered by Dr. Glenn, the AHA’s first Surgeon President, he's been able to have several surgeries and can do way more – like surf, skateboard and snowboard! Even though things are a lot better for him, he still has a few problems with his heart. Ethan is counting on research funded by grants from the American Heart Association to help him again! 

Gavin BurgosMeet Gavin Burgos. Gavin is an eleven year old heart hero. Gavin was four when he had his first episode of Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT). Over the next two weeks he had three additional episodes of his heart racing at a dangerous pace. Unfortunately, he was too young to express how he felt. Noticing his odd behavior, his mother Evangelina took him to see their pediatrician. During this trip, the doctor performed an EKG but his problem went undiagnosed. SVT episodes only last for a few minutes and often times the rapid heart beat doesn’t happen in the presence of medical professionals.

Years passed, and at six years old Gavin was finally able to voice what it felt like to have an SVT episode. He explained that his heart beat so fast it felt like it was coming out of his throat. With a background in healthcare, Evangelina was able to take an accurate pulse reading. She was shocked to see Gavin’s pulse was 200 beats per minute. Evangelina quickly took Gavin to the pediatrician but again, his episode had ended before the doctor was able to observe it.
 
However, Gavin was referred to a heart specialist. He was placed on heart monitors and had lots of tests done. Finally, he was diagnosed with SVT. The doctors explained that his condition has nothing to do with the structure of his heart, but with the electrical impulses that the heart sends out. For the next year and a half Gavin was put on beta blockers and could not play sports.
 
Now at eleven years old, Gavin is back to being a healthy active kid who enjoys swimming, football, basketball and of course playing video games with his two younger siblings. Gavin now only takes the beta blockers as needed, and he eats lots of fruits, veggies and lean meats. He also drinks lots of water. Gavin was especially excited to participate in the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart program and looks forward to volunteering with an organization that has done so much for him and has provided information and support for his parents.

Jaclyn HastingsMeet Jaclyn. Jaclyn was born in China with tetralogy of Fallot and a hole in her heart. When she was 3 years old she had surgery fix the hole. During surgery she had a stroke and now has cerebral palsy. In December of 2009, Jaclyn was adopted by a family in California. She now has a mom, a dad, and a sister who take great care of her. She has seen many doctors and has learned how best to take care of her special heart. Due to her cerebral palsy, she has had to learn to be left handed. She struggles to learn new things but her family and teachers  help her a lot. She will have to have another surgery when she is bigger but for now she is  a happy kid who lives swimming and playing with her friends.

Lindsey SchmittMeet Lyndsey. Lindsey was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and atrial tachycardia arrhythmias. She underwent catheter ablation surgery which was unfortunately unsuccessful. She’s currently on 2 heart medications to keep her heart beating with a normal rhythm. Her condition and medications limit some of her physical activity but she loves dancing and cheerleading!

Michael and Grace Elhers Meet Michael. At just a few hours-old, Michael stopped breathing. As the doctors worked to figure out why, they discovered that Michael was born with a heart defect.

Just 37 hours into Michael's young life and he was already having his first open heart surgery. His mom, dad and big sister Grace stayed by his side in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) letting him know how much he was loved and that he could fight to survive.

Michael made it through his first open heart surgery as well as several more surgeries and hospital visits during the first few years of his life. He still visits the doctor for regular EKGs and echocardiograms, but that doesn't slow him down! Michael, or "Miracle Mike", likes to run around, play super heros, take karate classes and everything else that four year-old boys like to do. The Ehlers are thankful for the research done by the American Heart Association that helps heal special hearts like Mike's.

Natalie WarsavskyMeet Natalie.  Natalie was born with a heart defect that was discovered when she was 4 months old. She had a hole in her heart as well as partial anomalous pulmonary venous return. Shortly after Natalie’s 1st birthday, doctors decided it was time for surgery because Natalie wasn’t growing or gaining weight normally. Natalie has surgery at 15 months old. As a result of the surgery, she developed and abnormality in her chest known as pectus carinatum. She underwent a year of physical therapy and wore a chest to correct it. 

Natalie no longer wears the chest brace, she plays soccer and does karate. She continues to see her cardiologist every year and sometimes is uncomfortable when other kids ask about her scar. Her family is very supportive and tells her that she has a scar because her heart is so special. She is a happy and healthy elementary school kid who wants to help other kids to stay healthy.

Rachel SalasMeet Rachel. At only two years old, Rachel’s primary doctor recommended she see a cardiologist after detecting a possible heart murmur. The cardiologist reassured the family that the murmur was nothing to worry about and asked them to bring Rachel back in a few months for an echocardiogram.

Not long after her visit to the cardiologist, Rachel was injured by a bookshelf and was rushed to the emergency room, where the ER doctor became concerned about her heart and requested further testing. After thorough testing, the doctor’s explained to Rachel’s family the urgency of her heart condition and suggested that she visit a cardiologist right away. Rachel and her family had to consult with multiple cardiologists before receiving the diagnosis of mitral valve stenosis, (a condition that causes a decrease in blood flow to the left side of the heart, causing the right side to work harder). At the time Rachel’s doctors could not agree on a course of care and as they deliberated she became weaker, stopped growing and was frequently tired. As time passed one doctor warned the family Rachel may not make it to the age of 3 if something was not done soon. The family made a life altering decision. They picked up their life and moved to San Diego so that Rachel could receive treatment at Rady Children’s Hospital. Much to the family’s relief, the cardiologists at Rady was able to perform a mitral valve replacement procedure on Rachel in 2010. The surgery was a success and with monitoring and medication Rachel is now a happy, healthy 9 year old.


Sofia Montoya 01

Meet Sofia. Sofia had been practicing her favorite song for her elementary school’s talent show April 22. She sang Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” over and over again with her mother, Shawna. But Sofia didn’t make it to the show. The bubbly, bright third-grader at Farallone View Elementary in Montara, California, was on the playground on April 18. She’d been playing on a playscape but sat down on the ground, told a classmate she felt “weird,” and fell backward.
 
You can read more about Sofia's journey here.
 

Willa KoehlerMeet Willa. Willa was born with a special heart. She is a double outlet right ventricle. She has had 3 open-heart surgeries to correct her ventricle. She spent a lot of time in the hospital and was scared at first but after the surgeries she felt better. She had so many shots that they don’t even bother her anymore. Her parents always call her a very, very brave kid. She used to not be able to exercise because she would get tired very quickly but now she can run just like all the other kids. Her doctors think that she’ll need a pacemaker when she’s older but for now she’s just a happy kid!


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Hawaii

Kendra Ryan

Kendra RyanMeet Kendra. When Kendra was 15 months old she fell ill with a high fever that was resistant to Tylenol. Her lymph nodes in her neck were also swollen so severely that she could not turn her head from side to side and she refused to walk. Her symptoms persisted over the weekend and on the 5th day she woke up with bright red swollen, cracked, and bleeding lips. Her symptoms also included a "Strawberry" tongue and swollen hands and feet.

We rushed her to her pediatricians’ office where he believed right away that she was suffering from Kawaski Disease. He was unable to treat her and she could only be treated at Kapiolani Hospital in Honolulu which was a 45 minute airplane ride away.

Kendra's pediatricians’ suspicions were confirmed, after a plethora of tests over a 24 hour period to rule out all other possibilities. Kendra was treated and diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease. She then began an IV treatment of adult antibodies (IVIG) for 48 hours.
 
According to the Kawasaki Disease Foundation, "KD is a serious illness characterized by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body that primarily affects young children and infants. Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. Without treatment, about 25% of children develop heart disease involving the coronary arteries. Doctors continue to study the long-term outcome of children who do not appear to have coronary involvement".
 
Luckily Kendra was treated early and had no significant damage to her heart. However, she continues to see a specialist regularly to keep a close watch over her heart. KD is rather common in the Hawaiian Islands as opposed to other areas nationally. The reason for this is unknown, and this is what motivates the Ryan family to continue to push for advancements towards testing.

Kendra RyanMeet Kendra. When Kendra was 15 months old she fell ill with a high fever that was resistant to Tylenol. Her lymph nodes in her neck were also swollen so severely that she could not turn her head from side to side and she refused to walk. Her symptoms persisted over the weekend and on the 5th day she woke up with bright red swollen, cracked, and bleeding lips. Her symptoms also included a "Strawberry" tongue and swollen hands and feet.

We rushed her to her pediatricians’ office where he believed right away that she was suffering from Kawaski Disease. He was unable to treat her and she could only be treated at Kapiolani Hospital in Honolulu which was a 45 minute airplane ride away.

Kendra's pediatricians’ suspicions were confirmed, after a plethora of tests over a 24 hour period to rule out all other possibilities. Kendra was treated and diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease. She then began an IV treatment of adult antibodies (IVIG) for 48 hours.
 
According to the Kawasaki Disease Foundation, "KD is a serious illness characterized by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body that primarily affects young children and infants. Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. Without treatment, about 25% of children develop heart disease involving the coronary arteries. Doctors continue to study the long-term outcome of children who do not appear to have coronary involvement".
 
Luckily Kendra was treated early and had no significant damage to her heart. However, she continues to see a specialist regularly to keep a close watch over her heart. KD is rather common in the Hawaiian Islands as opposed to other areas nationally. The reason for this is unknown, and this is what motivates the Ryan family to continue to push for advancements towards testing.

Ihilani HatoriMeet Ihilani. . In august 2011, Ihilani’s older sister passed away from a heart problem. At the time, her family didn’t know what caused it and the doctors could only say that her heart stopped working. Ihilani and the rest of her family were tested for any heart problems. Ihilani and her 2 brothers were diagnosed with heart defects similar to, but less severe than, their late sister’s. Ihilani has to go to the doctors once a month to make sure that he heart is working right.

Ihilani’s brothers also need frequent checks up but both of them can play football and baseball. Ihilani loves cheerleading. Their mom knows how important it is to keep everyone’s hearts healthy and is so good about getting everyone to checkups
.

Kyley FletcherMeet Kyley. Kyley was born with a broken heart. She had coarctation of the aorta and a bicuspid leaky valve. When she was 3 months old she ended up in the NICU with respiratory syncytial virus. This is how the doctors learned about her heart condition. Kyley has had 2 open heart surgeries to correct her heart defects. She still has a leaky valve and her aorta is starting to narrow so she has to have yearly checkups. She tries to stay positive, happy, and heart healthy.


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Idaho

Aidan Jonz

Aidan JonzMeet Aidan. When Aidan was born he had holes in his heart. For the first couple months of his life he was very sick. When he was 2 months old Aidan had surgery to fix the holes in his heart. During surgery, Aidan had a stroke. Because of his stroke, the right side of Aidan’s body was weaker than the left. He has worked very hard in his speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy to get better and stronger. Aidan wants kids with heart problems or strokes to know that they can do anything – that they can be warriors just like him.

Aidan JonzMeet Aidan. When Aidan was born he had holes in his heart. For the first couple months of his life he was very sick. When he was 2 months old Aidan had surgery to fix the holes in his heart. During surgery, Aidan had a stroke. Because of his stroke, the right side of Aidan’s body was weaker than the left. He has worked very hard in his speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy to get better and stronger. Aidan wants kids with heart problems or strokes to know that they can do anything – that they can be warriors just like him.

Elias ChristensenMeet Elias. When Elias was just 2 days old he was diagnosed with VACTERL Syndrome. He had a huge hole in the center of his heart called an AV canal. It caused Elias to have congestive heart failure. He had to go on many medications and his growth was stunted. When Elias was 6 months old he had open heart surgery to patch the hole in his heart. 3 days later his heart stop beating correctly and a week later he had to have another surgery to put a pacemaker in. Elias developed pulmonary hypertension and had to be on oxygen for 7 months. At 5 years old, Elias’ heart rate dropped and he had to have his pacemaker moved to a different spot. He has to have his pacemaker checked every 3 months to make sure it’s working properly. 

Elias loves to play and be active but he often needs to stop and rest due to chest pains. He wants everyone to be happy and if they have heart problems, he wants them to be brave.

Paxton SmithMeet Paxton. When Paxton was 7 he got really sick and had to go to the hospital. While there, Paxton was diagnosed with Kawasaki’s disease. This caused his coronary arteries to become enlarged. Paxton had to take different medicines daily and have heart echocardiograms every couple of weeks. Paxton felt really sad and didn’t think people would want to play with him because he had a bad heart. All of the medicine and testing were very scary for Paxton and he couldn’t do anything that would put stress on his heart like sports or exercise. After lots of months of testing and medicines, Paxton’s scans came back clean. His heart had healed! He still has to go get yearly tests to make sure that everything is okay but he is able live an active and normal life!

River Blake-RobertsMeet River. River was born with Pulmonary Atresia. Right away, the doctors knew something was different about him. Within the first few hours of his life, he was lifeflighted to our neighboring state and spent 28 days in the hospital. At 9 days old, he had his first heart surgery to have a BT Shunt put into place. River has also suffered 2 mild strokes that affect the right side of his body and mind.

Through all the obstacles he has had to overcome, he still manages to have one of the most clever and witty personalities. He has a love for Sonic the Hedgehog and can tell you endless amounts of facts about his favorite super heroes. River has been a great reminder that anything is possible and to never give up.


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Montana

Aaron Isakson

Aaron IsaksonMeet Aaron Isakson. Aaron was born with a severe congenital heart defect called HLHS. His parents had to move to another state so that a special team of doctors and nurses could work on his heart and save his life. Aaron’s mom says that he had surgeries at 4 days old, 4 months old, and 3 years old. He is now 5 years old and doesn’t really remember the times that he had his surgeries. He is proud of the special scars that are on his chest. They show how brave and strong he is, like Superman, Batman and Spiderman. Aaron loves his hospital and misses his doctors. They take great care of his heart to this day.

Aaron IsaksonMeet Aaron Isakson. Aaron was born with a severe congenital heart defect called HLHS. His parents had to move to another state so that a special team of doctors and nurses could work on his heart and save his life. Aaron’s mom says that he had surgeries at 4 days old, 4 months old, and 3 years old. He is now 5 years old and doesn’t really remember the times that he had his surgeries. He is proud of the special scars that are on his chest. They show how brave and strong he is, like Superman, Batman and Spiderman. Aaron loves his hospital and misses his doctors. They take great care of his heart to this day.

Colter Cross Meet Colter. Colter was born on November 17, 2011. He was taken home 24 hours after he was born, he had passed all of the health screenings and was a healthy baby boy. Unfortunately, the hospital had neglected to complete Pulse Oximetry Screening.

Three days later at his first checkup the doctor heard a very loud murmur and chose to check his oxygen levels, which were bad. A normal baby should be above 95% and Colter was at 75%. He immediately made arrangements for us to see a cardiologist. Five hours later Colter's parents received the most terrifying news they have ever heard in their lives. Colter was diagnosed with a severe and rare critical congenital heart defect called Truncus Arteriosus. Without surgery to repair his defect he would die.

At eleven days old Colter underwent open heart surgery at Seattle Children's Hospital that was supposed to take 6-8 hours but, because Colter had suffered a cardiac arrest, it wasn't until fourteen hours later that Colter was stabilized. However he was still surviving minute to minute. During the next two weeks, Colter was barely surviving facing infections and last ditch efforts by the doctors.

Luckily, by the grace of medical research, Colter began to improve and was discharged from the Children's Intensive Care Unit. He remained in the hospital for another month on antibiotic treatment. When Colter was finally able to go home, he had a feeding tube, full-time oxygen and a long road to recovery. His cardiologist said if he didn't improve a heart transplant would be needed.

Happily, Colter is thriving today! He is as crazy as any other two-year old and just recently became medication free. Colter will need at least 3 more open heart surgeries, numerous catheters and constant monitoring throughout his life. His family doesn't worry about the future and enjoys today and the moments we have right now knowing that through research and medicine, Colter can and will have a healthy quality of life. Please help spread the word that nearly 1 out of every 100 births a baby is born with some form of heart disease. Heart disease is the #1 killer of our babies, not to mention that babies are twice more likely to die of a heart disease than all forms of childhood cancer. Heart disease doesn't discriminate; ask for your baby’s oxygen levels to be checked before you leave the hospital. Know the signs--if your baby has a bluish tint to the skin, fingernails or lips, fast breathing, poor feeding, poor weight gain, fatigue, poor circulation and excessive sweating--those are all signs of a possible heart defect.

Isaac ReyesMeet Isaac. Isaac was born with a congenital heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. Soon after he was born, Isaac was flown to a larger hospital where he stayed for a whole month. He had a heart catheter and open heart surgery to connect his heart to his lungs. When Isaac was 8 months old, he had to go to Stanford to have the hole in his heart repaired as well as to replace the valve and conduit. They also rerouted a lot of vessels that supply his lungs with blood from his heart. The surgery took over 9 hours! Isaac is blessed with a great family and lots of friends that pray for him each time he has a surgery. Isaac can now run and play without getting too tired and is proud of the “zipper” on his chest. He keeps his heart healthy with exercise, good diet, and lots of water. He’s grateful for all of the nurses and doctors that care for him and keep his heart healthy.


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Nevada

Alexia Torres

Alexia TorresMeet Alexia. Before Alexia was born, doctors informed her mother that Alexia had a congenital heart disease. At first the doctors said it was life threatening because Alexia had a lot of fluid backed up in her heart. As time went on the doctors determined that Alexia would make it to full term. Alexia was born with 100% oxygen so she was able to go home without heart surgery. At 6 months old, Alexia’s cardiologist determined it was necessary to repair her tetralogy of Fallot. The surgery was successful and she recovered in 5 days! She needed another surgery to stop leakage in her heart. Another successful surgery! Alexia still gets tired easily and needs to rest a lot but is otherwise healthy and happy! Her parents tell her that she can do anything she puts her mind to so long as she knows her limits and stays healthy. She gets to do plenty of things like other kids with normal hearts can do.

Alexia TorresMeet Alexia. Before Alexia was born, doctors informed her mother that Alexia had a congenital heart disease. At first the doctors said it was life threatening because Alexia had a lot of fluid backed up in her heart. As time went on the doctors determined that Alexia would make it to full term. Alexia was born with 100% oxygen so she was able to go home without heart surgery. At 6 months old, Alexia’s cardiologist determined it was necessary to repair her tetralogy of Fallot. The surgery was successful and she recovered in 5 days! She needed another surgery to stop leakage in her heart. Another successful surgery! Alexia still gets tired easily and needs to rest a lot but is otherwise healthy and happy! Her parents tell her that she can do anything she puts her mind to so long as she knows her limits and stays healthy. She gets to do plenty of things like other kids with normal hearts can do.

Brody CongiolosoMeet Brody. When Brody was 10 days old, he was diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis and aortic insufficiency. Brody’s brother also has pulmonary stenosis. When Brody was 4 months he had to have a cardiac catheterization followed by emergency open heart surgery. Since then, Brody has had 4 more cardiac catheterizations and in 2015 Brody had another open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve. Brody was very scared because he thought he might not make it. After his surgery, he stopped breathing and his doctors saved him. He was able to go home after 5 days and has been healing ever since! He is no longer on heart medication and his doctors say his heart looks great! Brody will eventually have to have more surgeries and he is nervous but hopeful. Brody’s heart is broken but it’s still beating and Brody’s so tough because of what he’s been through.!

Devin AllenMeet Devin. 1 month before Devin was born, doctors told his mom that Devin had 3 holes in his heart. After Devin was born, he was also diagnosed with Down Syndrome. When he was 4 months old he had open heart surgery to repair the holes in his heart. The surgery was successful and Devin hasn’t had any other issues with his heart! He’s growing big and strong and loves school and batman. He takes part in the Special Olympics and hopes that all the money he raises helps to save lives so all kids can grow big and strong.


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Oregon

Alice Arnold

Alice ArnoldMeet Alice. Alice was born with a CHD called AVSD (Atrial Ventricular Septal Defect) meaning she had 1 big hole in her heart leading from the top to the bottom. She had surgery at 2 months old to repair it and a pacemaker placed about 2 weeks after that. During the first 4 years, she had a normal life, played had friends, went to play dates and just about anything a 4 year old would do. Shortly before Alice turned 5 she collapsed during drop off at preschool. She was taken by ambulance to Doernbecher where they figured out her pacemaker lead had fractured, and they needed to repair it fast. During this time, Alice coded and they needed to do 4 rounds of CPR to bring her back. All the CPR messed with the natural rhythm of her heart and created other problems. Despite all this, Alice is now and amazing and vibrant 6 year old.

Alice ArnoldMeet Alice. Alice was born with a CHD called AVSD (Atrial Ventricular Septal Defect) meaning she had 1 big hole in her heart leading from the top to the bottom. She had surgery at 2 months old to repair it and a pacemaker placed about 2 weeks after that. During the first 4 years, she had a normal life, played had friends, went to play dates and just about anything a 4 year old would do. Shortly before Alice turned 5 she collapsed during drop off at preschool. She was taken by ambulance to Doernbecher where they figured out her pacemaker lead had fractured, and they needed to repair it fast. During this time, Alice coded and they needed to do 4 rounds of CPR to bring her back. All the CPR messed with the natural rhythm of her heart and created other problems. Despite all this, Alice is now and amazing and vibrant 6 year old.

Lucy BallantiMeet Lucy. When Lucy was 6 months on her mom took her to the doctor because she was really small and cried a lot. When Luc was crying her lips were turn blue. The doctors discovered that she had tetralogy of Fallot. Her heart had a hole in it and the valve going to her lungs was too small so her body wasn’t getting enough oxygen. This was causing the headaches that were likely the cause of all  the crying. Lucy had surgery to fix the hole in her heart when she was just 6 months old. Lucy’s mom said that Lucy started to feel better right away. Lucy still has to go to the doctor every year to check on her heart but she just like other kids her age.

Miranda CaseMeet Miranda. Miranda was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome which means that she’s missing the left side of her heart. There are 3 surgeries necessary to fix a heart like Miranda’s. She had the first one at 7 days old, the next one and 6 months old, and the 3rd one when she was 4 years old. When she was 6 years old she started having problems and developed protein losing enteropathy. She had to have another open heart surgery to correct the problem. Most days Miranda feels fine but others she gets tired easily. She loves to be active and has done dance, gymnastics, softball, and swimming. She loves to roller skate, do arts and crafts, and girl scouts! Miranda prays that all kids with congenital heart diseases have the same happy results she has. She lives life to the fullest one day at a time.

Sina AndersonMeet Sina. Sina's congenital heart defect was discovered when she was only 6 months old. Her defect is called Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), which is the hole in the heart wall that separates the upper chambers of the heart. Sina received her live-saving heart surgery in 2012 at just 2 years old and is a happy healthy little girl today.

Sina's family is incredibly grateful for their community of friends and family. They would like to thank everyone from the bottom of their hearts for their support, well wishes, hugs, and prayers. 

You can read more about Sina's journey here.

Sutton HaggrenMeet Sutton. Sutton’s heart defect was detected in utero and doctors carefully monitored his mother throughout her pregnancy to measure the growth of Sutton’s heart. The doctors suspected that Sutton had hypoplastic left heart syndrome and they took him straight to the NICU after birth. Sutton’s heart was working and he showed no signs of stress so the doctors waited until he was 8 days old to place a heart catheter. Sutton’s aortic arch was too narrow and needed to be opened. Sutton started to get very sick and it was clear that the doctor’s needed to operate soon. When he was 14 days old, Sutton underwent 8 hours of surgery. This surgery wasn’t a cure – it’s just a fix. Sutton developed a sub aortic membrane and his aortic arch began to narrow again. He will need at least 2 more surgeries at some point to correct these issues. He knows that he has to eat healthy and exercise even though he does have some physical restrictions. He loves all sports and his hip hop dance class. Sutton wants everyone to know that he’s just like all the other kids – just with a cool scar!


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Utah

Kyler Westmoreland

Kyler WestmorelandMeet Kyler Westmoreland. Kyler was born in 2007 with a severe heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which means he was missing the left side of his heart. He had his first open-heart surgery when he was less than a week old! After his second open-heart surgery, young Kyler suffered two strokes. He survived and endured three additional open-heart surgeries.

Kyler’s parents were told not to expect him to walk, talk or eat on his own, but Kyler has definitely defied the odds! At age 3, he learned to walk and after that, the rest of his development just seemed to come naturally. He started school in an adaptive kindergarten class and by Christmas he was ready to transfer into a regular kindergarten class!

When Kyler was 8 years old he started suffering from severe edema caused by protein losing enteropathy and doctors determined he needed a heart transplant. He was placed on the transplant waiting list in November 2016 and on March 25th, 2017, his donor heart was placed in his chest and was beating on its own. Today, Kyler and his family are truly grateful for his gift of new life.

Kyler WestmorelandMeet Kyler Westmoreland. Kyler was born in 2007 with a severe heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which means he was missing the left side of his heart. He had his first open-heart surgery when he was less than a week old! After his second open-heart surgery, young Kyler suffered two strokes. He survived and endured three additional open-heart surgeries.

Kyler’s parents were told not to expect him to walk, talk or eat on his own, but Kyler has definitely defied the odds! At age 3, he learned to walk and after that, the rest of his development just seemed to come naturally. He started school in an adaptive kindergarten class and by Christmas he was ready to transfer into a regular kindergarten class!

When Kyler was 8 years old he started suffering from severe edema caused by protein losing enteropathy and doctors determined he needed a heart transplant. He was placed on the transplant waiting list in November 2016 and on March 25th, 2017, his donor heart was placed in his chest and was beating on its own. Today, Kyler and his family are truly grateful for his gift of new life.

Lucas RowburyMeet Lucas. When Lucas was born he immediately turned blue. It was determined that Lucas would be flown to a children’s medical center where they discovered that he had transposition of the great arteries. At 6 days old Sutton had open heart surgery and was in the hospital for almost a month. Sutton went home with a feeding tube, a PICC line, and a lot of medications until he was fully healed. Sutton feels very lucky to have only required one surgery. He sees a doctor every other year and has to be careful about which sports he plays. He loves having a “zipper” scar to show everyone.


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Washington

Ava Wyzykowski

Ava WyzykowskiMeet Ava. When Ava was 1 day old she stopped breathing and her heart rate dropped really low. It happened several times throughout the night. Ava spent 3 days in NICU where she has several more episodes. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Ava’s heart and after 3 days, Ava’s problems stopped. Ava was cleared by the doctors and was sent home – she hasn’t had any heart problems since. Ava’s parents have told her about all the other babies in the NICU who needed surgery. She likes to help raise money to make their hearts better.

Ava WyzykowskiMeet Ava. When Ava was 1 day old she stopped breathing and her heart rate dropped really low. It happened several times throughout the night. Ava spent 3 days in NICU where she has several more episodes. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Ava’s heart and after 3 days, Ava’s problems stopped. Ava was cleared by the doctors and was sent home – she hasn’t had any heart problems since. Ava’s parents have told her about all the other babies in the NICU who needed surgery. She likes to help raise money to make their hearts better.

Avery GambardellaMeet Avery. Avery was born with several birth defects – one being tetralogy of fallot. She made it through her first open heart surgery at 3 weeks of age only to have another surgery a week alter to repair the hole in her heart. The doctors warned Avery and her family that Avery would have low energy because of her heart issues but aside from that she is a happy, active kid that gets to play softball, ride her bike, and go camping. She will need another surgery to replace a valve at some point but she knows that the doctors will take great care of her.

Caleb LongMeet Caleb. Caleb was diagnosed with SVT in utero at 32 weeks gestation. His hear rate was over 300 bpm (too fast for the monitoring to pick up at the perinatologist office). He was monitored and on meds for the rest of the pregnancy and then after delivery in the NICU. He was able to go home after delivery not on any meds. At 6 days old he had an episode of V-Tach and went to Chlidrens Hospital. He was then placed on meds and holter monitoring. He continued this course until he was just over a year. At that time his heart had matured enough that while he does still have an irregular rhythm he has been able to be off meds :).
 
He is aware of how fast his heart used to beat and knows how important it is to take care of your heart. He is able to play soccer and basketball and has been doing karate for 4 years now (he will earn his black belt later this year).

Gracie JarmanMeet Gracie. When Gracie was 5 years old, she became really sick and her parents took her to the ER. She was admitted to a children’s hospital and was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease (KD). This means that the blood vessels throughout her body were inflamed. KD is the leading cause of acquired hear disease in children. Gracie feels lucky that her KD was caught early and treated. She has to go to the cardiologist once a year but other than that she’s a happy, normal kid with a healthy heart!

Hunter KingMeet Hunter. Hunter was born with Atrial Septal Defect and transposition of the great vessels. At 3 weeks old, doctors performed open heart surgery. Hunter’s heart is better now because of the surgery but he still goes back to the doctor once a year to make sure it’s growing properly. Hunter knows how important it is to eat healthy and exercise. He loves to play soccer and run races with his friends. HE loves cooking and helping out in the kitchen. Hunter wishes that no child has to deal with a sick heart. He wants other kids to know there is hope to be healthy and normal.

Logan BurtonMeet Logan. Logan was born with a congenital heart defect called supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS) and pulmonary stenosis; narrowing of the vessels and arteries that carry blood from the heart. Logan has been monitored by a cardiologist since birth. He had his first open heart surgery at 18 months old. During this first surgery, surgeons widened the area above his aortic valve. The surgery went about as perfectly as one could hope. Logan was out of the hospital after only five days!
 
During the summer of 2015, Logan had an episode of chest pain and difficulty breathing. An ER visit led to two MRIs and a cardiac catheter, which revealed significant narrowing in his ascending artery, aortic arch and descending artery. This would require a second, more complicated, open heart surgery.

On March 1, 2016, Logan had his second open heart surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital. For seven hours, the surgeons widened and repaired his ascending artery and aortic arch. The surgery (again) went about as perfectly as one could hope. Logan was returned to the cardiac ICU, where we expected he would recover for about 7 days and then we would head home for Recovery from Heart Surgery #2. The universe had another plan. Logan suffered an allergic reaction post-op and went into anaphylactic shock on his way back to the ICU. As a result, his stats were all over the board post surgery; he was bleeding internally and his blood pressure was out of control. At about 11pm that night, Logan’s heart stopped. A code blue was called, emergency teams arrived, crash carts were wheeled in, and for the next 36 minutes, doctors manually pumped Logan’s heart and lungs while they got him hooked up to a life support system (ECMO). Logan was on life support for two days, while his little heart rested. To add insult to injury, doctors believe Logan suffered a left-hemisphere stroke when they brought him off life support; as a result, his entire right side was not functioning. His brain was also damaged and his emotional being was severely traumatized. If the physical issues weren’t enough, Logan also suffered ICU Delirium from the emotional trauma of being in the ICU. Life in the ICU became a daily game of, “Which issue do we address today?” Logan accepted the challenge and was a ROCKSTAR throughout the ordeal. He got stronger every day and was released from the hospital after 14 days. When he came home, he couldn’t walk, talk, or do much of anything. He started intensive OT and PT for his right side almost immediately. Over the next six months, Logan made incredible improvement. He is now back in school and playing flag football. School is going well, with some struggles. He’s down to one PT session per week and, the best news of all, his heart looks fantastic. Slowly, but surely, we are getting back to 100%.

The battle is not over. Logan still has narrowing of his carotid artery (the artery that carries blood to the brain), which puts him at risk of having a stroke. Doctors still need to widen the descending artery in his heart, too. So there are still many appointments and procedures that Logan has to go through, but I have no doubt he will handle those with strength and courage, just like he has his entire life.

For the last two years, Logan has participated in his school's Jump Rope for Heart. Last year, he and his brothers were the #1 fundraiser at the school, raising over $5000 for the American Heart Association. Our goal is to raise OVER $5000 this year.

Maddy ReyesMeet Maddy. Maddy was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect. She had open heart surgery at the age of four months and continues to undergo regular testing with her cardiologist to determine when her next surgery will be to repair her pulmonary valve.

Maddy is 12 years old and stays active as a competitive cheerleader, dancer and is a member of her school's cross country team.

She serves as a Social Media Ambassador for the American Heart Association, sharing her story on her Twitter and Instagram through her handle @maddygocheer. Maddy participates in Jump Rope for Heart each year and lead her first team at the Seattle Heart Stroke Walk in October 2016.

She believes that heart kids can do anything and wants to encourage all kids to stay active so that they have healthy hearts.

Owen OlsonMeet Owen. Owen was born with a heart problem called tetralogy of Fallot. When he was a baby, his heart didn't work like it should so he had to have open heart surgery to fix it. He stayed in the hospital for 7 days where the doctors had to help him breath and get his heart to work better. Owen's mom and dad stayed at the hospital the whole time.

He is 7 years old now and can do anything, but sometimes gets tired a little faster than other kids. Owen will have to have more surgery when he's a little older to give him a new heart valve. He goes for check ups with his heart Doctor where they take pictures and listen to his heart to make sure it's working the best it can.

Malachi TrentMeet Malachi. Malachi was born with a heart disease called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). This means that he is missing the entire left side of his heart. When he was 1 week old he had his first of 3 open heart surgeries. At 5 months old, Malachi went in for a heart catherization. The procedure didn’t go as planned and Malachi now has cerebral palsy. Malachi had his second open heart surgery at 7 months old and the third at 2 years old. Because of the cerebral palsy, it took Malachi a little longer to learn how to walk but now he doesn’t slow down! Malachi is excited to participate in Jump Rope for Heart so he can help other kids like him!

Sammy HopfaufMeet Sammy. Sammy is now nine years old. He was born with SVT or Supraventricular Tachycardia. Sammy would complain that his heart was going nuts but as a boy who runs and plays hard, we just figured his accelerated heart rate was a result of his active play and it was hard to actually identify any episodes he may be having. While watching a movie he said my heart is going fast again. His parents took Sammy to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, and that night he was diagnosed with SVT. Since then he has been on a daily medication to control the episodes and it works but there are side effects. He lives a normal life playing sports and just being a kid. He will need a procedure that will hopefully correct his issue and allow him to be off of the daily medication that he would otherwise have to take for the rest of his life. Sammy and his family are praying for the best results and no complications. Sammy knows the money raises for Jump Rope for Heart helps other kids with far worse issues than his and he decided to go the extra mile to spread the word and gather donations. He is leading his school in funds acquired

Quinn AndersonMeet Quinn. Quinn was born 15 weeks premature. Quinn was so premature that her heart hadn’t fully developed when she was born; she had patent ductus arteriosus. While she in the NICU her heart stopped beating multiple times a day and she had to be resuscitated frequently. Today she is a happy and healthy heart hero and she loves supporting the American Heart Association



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