NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A toddler’s battle with heart disease is helping raise awareness about the condition.
Adalynn isn’t even 2 years old yet, and she’s already undergone two open heart surgeries. She is now waiting on a heart at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
The journey has been a roller coaster of emotions for her parents, Justin and Kristi Rogers.
“It’s probably the worst thing that anybody could go through,” Justin told News 2.
Addy is one of about 40,000 babies born with congenital heart disease, or CHD, each year in the U.S.
At 2 days old, and again at 5 months old, Addy underwent open heart surgery. For nearly a year and a half, she was home with her family until late October when her heart began to decline.
“To me, the hardest part was four weeks ago. She was playing like any other kid, and today she can barely lift her hand up to squeeze your thumb,” her father said.
A virus has made Addy’s condition even worse.
“She fell very hard all at once,” the family told News 2.
Addy is on a mechanical pump, or VAD, that works as her heart.
“There’s nobody tougher in my eyes than that little girl,” said Justin.
The family has shared their experience on social media, raising awareness for the need of organ donors and drawing prayers for Addy from around the world using the hashtag #AddyStrong.
“There’s a lot of prayer going through from all over the world, literally,” Justin said.
“You get messages saying this little girl, you know, they weren’t very strong in their faith, and then they are reading all the stuff about her and all the stuff she’s been going through and then they are getting back right with God. I mean, my little girl did that. That’s a big deal,” said Kristi.
The family told News 2 they don’t know how long Addy will be waiting on a heart, but that the average wait is six to eight weeks.
The Rogers live in Kentucky, so you can imagine the commute where their 5- and 7 year-old sons are staying isn’t an easy one.
Justin has stepped away from work and Kristi is expecting their fourth child in two weeks. A friend is hosting a benefit for the family in February. Click here for more information.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help the family.