Why do I walk?
My daughter was born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplasic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). With this defect, her left ventricle did not develop. Brooke had her first open-heart surgery the day after she was born. Then additional surgeries were required when she was 5 months and 17 months old. She was doing well until 2000 when she was 5. At that time, it was determined that she would need a heart transplant. She went through 4 days of testing and appointments before it was determine she would be a good candidate for transplantation. For many years, she flourished with this new heart. Upon a routine heart catheterization and biopsy, the doctors found coronary disease, which is prominent in transplanted hearts. There was no procedure that would cure this and once again, she underwent the process for transplant evaluation. Unlike her first transplant, of remaining at home until a heart was available, she went into heart failure and was admitted to the hospital and was not permitted to be discharged until after she received her 2nd heart transplant. Brooke and I were living in a tiny hospital room for almost 3 months, from date of admission until after her transplant.
For years, Brooke did well and she was an active teen. In November 2018, she was diagnosed with heart failure. This time, it was determine she could potentially benefit from an IV medication that ran continuously. Brooke opted for this treatment rather than enduring yet a third transplant. She had several appointments with her doctor to monitor her progress. Unfortunately, after being on the IV medication for several months, there was no change in her heart function. Brooke was adamant that she was not having any further surgeries, so we honored her wishes and continued with the IV meds.
On June 23, 2019, Brooke suffered a cardiac arrest. She was unresponsive and had sustained brain damage as a result of the arrest. On June 25, 2019, Brooke gained her angel wings and is now watching over us all.
One thing Brooke was passionate about was participating in the AHA Heart Walk each year. She knew the funds raised would benefit her and others like her. Without the funds that are so generously given to AHA, we would not have been fortunate enough to have Brooke with us for the time we did.
I would greatly appreciate donations to continue the AHA funding for heart disease. Follow the link to make a donation. If you would like to join us in walking, please let me know and I will be happy to help you get started!
Thank you all in advance.
In loving memory of Miss Brooke