Our team rides for and is inspired by our cardiac kids. Our patients range from newborns to adults, some of them see us once, many see us for years, and a few see us for their lifetime. They endure many admissions, clinic visits, lab draws, echos, cardiac catheterizations, surgeries and even heart transplants. They go through more than any child should, yet they come in with smiles and positive attitudes. Through all of this, they encourage us and are our heroes. Here are a few of their stories:


NoahThis is Noah and she loves the Children’s Hospital. When asked her favorite thing about it, she says it’s “the snacks I get when I do an echo and an EKG.” (Ah, juice boxes and individually packaged Goldfish snac…ks!) She says that she visits the hospital because “I only have a right side of my heart so it’s harder for me to pump blood. My heart needs a little rest, but it can’t stop beating. Does she see herself as different from other kids? “My heart is beating faster than other kids. That’s all.” If you watch her playing outside, you’d not recognize any difference. She runs or rides her bike just about everywhere she goes and in the backyard or at a park, she’s usually climbing- unless there’s a monkey bar. When asked her favorite thing about her body, she replied, “I can do really good loop the loops on a monkey bar. Yeah, I’m good at that! And, I can do my hair in two pig tails all by myself!” When you ask Noah what she will do when she grows up, she lets you know, “I’m going to be busy.” Then, this follows: “I’m going to be an astronaut and a paleontologist, a firefighter, an artist for a hobby….oh, and a mommy!” Her heart is just a part of what makes this sweet girl unique! Her family is thankful for the awesome staff at the Children’s Hospital who keep her little heart in shape!
NoahLess than 24 hours after Liam’s birth, our big, beautiful, and seemingly healthy baby boy was diagnosed with critical Pulmonary Valve Stenosis …and was quickly transported by the Flight for Life crew from Boulder Foothills Community Hospital to Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Liam’s pulmonary valve was mostly closed, which obstructed the blood flow from his right ventricle to the lungs. His oxygen level was dropping, and his skin tone had started to change. We were assured that Liam should be fine, and that he couldn’t be going to a better place than Children’s Hospital. We were obviously terrified for our 1 day old baby and feared the worst. At 2 days old Liam underwent a balloon valvuloplasty procedure to open up his pulmonary valve, and then several weeks later, Liam returned for open heart surgery to remove obstructive muscle tissue in his right ventricle that was causing his heart to work too hard. Thankfully both procedures were successful, and we are happy to report that Liam is happy and thriving. We feel so blessed to have him as our son, and that we now get to see him grow and thrive in the days and years to come.
BrynleighBrynleigh was born with a heart defect where the left side of her heart did not develop. Over the course of several major surgeries in her short life, the doctors learned… that Brynleigh had lost 40% of the 60% heart function she was born with. On Aug. 2nd, 2013 it was determined she needed a heart transplant and she was flown to Children’s Hospital Colorado and placed on the transplant list. After a long 5 1/2 month wait, Brynleigh finally received her heart transplant on Jan. 14th, 2014. Brynleigh is now home and as healthy as can be expected. She is also learning new things that her 3 older brothers, Christian, Camden, and Cyler are teaching her.
CurtisThis is Curtis and he is one of our cardiac kids! Curtis was born with a really complicated congenital heart problem. Curtis has had lots of heart surgeries and procedures and he is really really brave. Congenital heart disease does not stop this guy from being the cutest cowboy ever!
ZanderToday is a little different. Today’s kid, Zander did not have the happy ending that we all wished for. Zander received a heart transplant in March 2013 and passed away July 4th 2014. Some of these kids spend more time at the hospital than they do at home. They become part of our heart family and when one of them dies, we grieve with the family. When word got out about Zander’s death, there were many sad doctors, nurses, echo techs, and support staff. One of Zander’s best day at the hospital was when he was able to play dodgeball against the staff. He was laughing and smiling so much that day! We sure are going to miss this kid! And we will never forget him!
MarshallMarshall, was born with a congenital heart disease that has required him to have 2 heart surgeries to date: One at 5 days old and one right before he turned two. We have been so lucky to have the brilliant and compassionate staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado with us every single step of the way. He would not be alive today without their medical interventions. Because of them, he is allowed to be a super regular child (with some kick-ass scars).
OwenOwen was born with four congenital heart defects. Within his first nine months of life, Owen had two o…pen heart surgeries and five other less invasive surgical procedures to keep his heart going. Owen is now a healthy child who comes to the Courage Classic and give thanks to the care he received at Children’s Colorado. Owen will need to have some more procedures during his life time and this Hospital is like a Heaven on Earth for us, where we can rest assure that he will be in great medical hands. As a family we will never be able to pay back what this Hospital has done for Owen. This is why I ride the Courage Classic, because with my riding and your support, we keep this hospital alive for the thousands of kids that will need treatment in the future and that need treatment right now.
JuniperWhen Juniper was taken in for her 1st doctor’s appointment at 2 weeks old, they discovered her heart was about twice the size that it should be. She has dilated cardiomyopathy, a rare condition in children. Her le…ft ventricle pumps at one sixth of the efficiency of a normal heart. Her heart will not sustain her and she needs a transplant. She was placed on the list on 3/7/14. Juniper is awaiting her new heart with the help of a Ventricular Assist Device called the Berlin Heart. The Berlin Heart pumps her left ventricle for her, while it helps in many ways, there are many risks and complications as well. Hopefully Juniper will get her new heart soon!
JosephIt was at our 20 week ultrasound that we first learned something was amiss with Joseph. After several ultrasounds and echoes, we learned that Joseph had an extremely rare hear…t lesion–Aortic Atresia with VSD, ASD and interrupted Aortic Arch. We prayed hard about the best place to deliver our baby, and after visits to Houston and Denver, we hands down chose Denver. Colorado Children’s hospital is nothing short of magical. After his open heart surgery everything went well–at first–and then he started leaking fluid and had to immediately be opened up again. Luckily for him, and us, Dr. Jaggers is an amazing surgeon and he got little Joseph back on track. Joseph is a little fighter and his new heart is strong.
Jackson “Samurai” Jackson was born October 11, 2012 at Children’s Hospital. He is a cardiac kid, having been born with only half of a functioning heart…. He had a rocky start, spending most of his first spring and summer in the Cardiac ICU with complications from his Glenn surgery. But, he has had a good stretch of being at home with mom and dad and big brother Mason. Jackson is getting bigger and stronger every day. Huge kuddos to the Heart Institute and the many doctors and nurses who look after Jackson and work so hard to make him better.
GunnerGunner was born with a narrowing of his aorta called a coarctation. Gunner had his surgery to correct his aorta when he was 2 days old, and was able to be discharged when he was just on…e week old!! He had to have balloon dilatation of the same area when he was 2 months old, and is currently being treated for a blood clot in his thigh that developed during the procedure, (which involves Mommy and Daddy giving him two shots a day… ouch!) But Gunner doesn’t let pesky little blood clots bother him… as long as he has his “Froggy” by his side, he’s just fine.
KyleKyle was just 7 years old when he went to Heaven. This is what him mom Jana would like you to know about him “Well, I’ve always felt that there are angels that walk among us as human beings and Kyle was one of those angels. He taught us more in his 7 1/2 years about love, kindness, bravery, patience, and the art of happiness than we could have ever dreamed! We were so privileged to know and love him and look forward to the day we will be together again.”
SydneyLittle Sydney is another one of our wonderful children.
JozeeCute little Jozee from the outside she is an adorable healthy looking little girl, but the scar down the middle of her chest tells a different story. Jozee and many other children like her are why we all love working at the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
AaronAaron was born with only half a heart is one of the many children we have rode for during the Courage Classic.
LiamLittle Liam lived only 8 short months and spent much of his life at Children’s Hospital Colorado. This is some of what his family said about him “What we most want people to remember about Liam is his amazing spirit that was able to inspire so many people, many of whom never even met him. He was such a fighter. And through all of his trials and tribulations of his short life, he was a truly happy soul. He was always smiling and laughing and really seemed to be enjoying life….””The only other thing that we can think of to communicate is to express how wonderful we believe Children’s Hospital is. And while the circumstances that brought us there are so very unfortunate and sad, we feel so lucky that Liam was taken care of there and so fortunate to be a part of such an amazing community.”
AddisonThis is Addison. And this is what her mom said about her: “She was perfect. Her smile was contagious, she was always happy and had a smile on her face at all times. She had a strong faith in God and brought joy to anyone she met. She loved the movie Tangled, her golden retriever Macey, playing dress-up, and singing. She looked up to her big sister Savannah and loved her mom more than she loved cupcakes. Although she was born with only half a heart, she made her family whole. After 3 open heart surgeries and a heart transplant, she flew to Heaven on the wings of angels on October 15, 2012.” Addison and so many children like her are why we work at the Heart Institute, and why we ride to raise money to help our patients and their families. Please ride, volunteer or donate to the Cardiac Climbers riding in the Courage Classic.
Jaxson "Jax"Mr. Jaxson, “Jax,” Miles Brown is an incredible gift to his mother, grandparents and aunts. Jax was born at the University of Colorado Children's Hospital with great anticipation among the staff and even greater anxiety among his family. You see, much of Jax's prenatal care was received in Memphis, TN, where his mother was told that no one had ever seen a heart like his. During a late term sonogram, she was told that Jax had a catastrophic heart defect likely caused by a chromosomal disorder and was unlikely to survive. Although that initial diagnosis later changed, the shape and function of Jax's heart was unlike anything the pediatric cardiology specialist in Memphis had seen and, quite frankly, was unprepared to handle. Fortunately for Jax, his family moved to Denver, CO, six weeks prior to his birth and his mom was introduced to the fabulous clinical staff at the University of Colorado Children's Hospital. The staff immediately recognized through sonograms that Jax is unique, but the world-class clinicians immediately flipped the script from a tragedy to a manageable challenge. Since his birth, Jax's health has been managed by an interdisciplinary team of specialists that have coordinated his care and needs. Today Jax is closely monitored but is thriving like a one-year old boy should.

 

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