Ellie happens to be my husband’s cousin.
She also happens to only be [almost] 4.
That makes her one of Henry’s best friends.
Keep reading to learn a little about Ellie’s life.
[Inserted throughout are quotes from Ellie’s Mom, Heidi.]
“We were so excited for our routine ultrasound at twenty weeks gestation. It was then that we discovered our first child, a daughter, was diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition. The most exciting day of our lives as new parents turned into one of the scariest, most confusing days of our lives. Ellie was diagnosed with HLHS and severe aortic stenosis. Born at UIHC on August 8, 2007 Ellie underwent her first open heart surgery, the Norwood, at five days old. She was hospitalized for 31 days and went home with eight medications & an NG tube. At exactly 5 months old Ellie had her second open-heart surgery, the Glen, and was hospitalized 21 days with Chylothorox. With over a year of therapy she learned to drink her bottle, crawl and walk. This April Ellie had her third open heart surgery, the Fontan procedure. This was the completion of her pallation and three staged surgery process. Her heart will never be fixed but now the blood will flow more easily to the lungs with her single ventricle use. The Fontan was a very rough and long surgery for Ellie; we came very close to losing her. Each surgery is difficult but the older your child is the more you know them and love them. After prayers from nearly half of the country and around the world Ellie was guided through her recovery. She was hospitalized for 36 days this spring. We are now 9 weeks post-op and she is really starting to become her cute, sassy old self! Her voice is back, she is walking well, and has even started to do stairs again.” — Heidi
“To look at her you would never know she has had six cardiac catheter procedures on top of her three open-heart surgeries. Doctors tell us she will need a heart transplant someday. When? Nobody knows the answer to that. It could be next year or in twenty years. Right now we will continue to laugh, play and count our many blessings each day. Ellie is truly a miracle.” — Heidi