Families and babies will benefit from annual heart walk

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By Jessica Singleton



When Madison Wilson was born, doctors told her parents, Heather and Travis, they had a normal healthy baby. Just a few months later, they had the shock of their lives. Their apparently healthy baby might need a heart transplant. 

The road to a correct diagnosis for their daughter was rocky at best. 

Heather said Madison was born with low blood-oxygen levels, but doctors told them it was nothing to worry about. 

At Madison’s one-week check-up, the oxygen levels were still low. 

Madison’s pediatrician, Dr. Sharon Wynn, recognized the levels as a symptom of a much bigger problem. They were referred to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where they were told that baby Madison was just fine. 

For many parents, getting a clean bill of health would be a relief. However, Heather and Travis knew that their baby’s breathing was not normal. Something was wrong, and they would not stop until they found a doctor who would listen to them. 

“I would listen to her breathing at night, and I just knew something wasn’t right,” Heather said.

Wynn was also skeptical about the children’s hospital findings. 

“She knew this was not normal,” Heather said. “She refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.”

After another round of testing, the Wilson family finally had their diagnosis. What they discovered terrified Madison’s parents and mystified her doctors. 

The tests found a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and a small hole in her heart. Often, small defects like this will repair themselves as babies get older, but Madison’s didn’t. Normally a PDA will affect the left side of a heart but for some reason Madison’s was on the right side. The doctors told Heather they had never seen a PDA affect the right side of a heart and they didn’t know if there was anything to do. The parents were told a heart transplant might be Madison’s only hope. 

Once again, they refused to accept that answer. They thought there must be another way.

 After about a week of conferences with other doctors, they decided the surgeons would try to close the PDA using a procedure called Patent Ductus Arteriosus Ligation. 

The surgery was successful. 

Although she still has a small hole in her heart, Madison is now living life as a happy and healthy baby.

Heather said it is important to follow your intuition as a parent. 

“Some times it pays off to be a worried mom,” she said. 

Families like the Wilsons who are affected by heart defects are gathering for the fourth annual Walk for Awareness of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). The walk raises money for medical research and to help families affected by CHDs. 

The walk will be held from noon to 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at Owenton First Baptist Church Family Life Center. 

There will be live entertainment from gospel groups, food, information on congenital heart defects, and a recognition walk for the survivors of CHDs and families of the angels. There will also be vendors available so that you can purchase Valentine’s Day gifts.

If you are interested in forming a team and helping to raise money for CHD research and God’s Special Little Hearts, a nonprofit organization, contact Katie Columbia at 463-2450, Meg Fitzgerald at 463-9936 or Kenda Franks at 484-0659.

Fifty percent of the walk’s proceeds will go to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital/Cardiology Division at the University of Kentucky and the remaining 50 percent will go to God’s Special Little Hearts to help families who are affected by the number one birth defect – CHD.

The Walk is sponsored by God’s Special Little Hearts and Owen County Extension Homemakers.