When Amy Kearney tells about the time when she took three-year-old Kelsey to the doctor for a cough, she and her husband were in a panic.
“We went in for an appointment, and the doctor says, ‘There’s something wrong with her heart.’ I was terrified,” Kearney told The Associated Press.
But the doctors thought it was an innocent cold and released Kelsey, who had been hospitalized and diagnosed with the flu two days before.
“But she had come back and was even sicker,” Kearney said.
The Kearneys rushed Kelsey to a larger hospital, where the pediatric cardiologist treated her aggressively.
“He inserted two stents and put her on the cardiac monitor,” Kearney said. “He kept telling me she has a heart murmur and never should have been leaving our house.”
The Kearneys learned Kelsey also had defects in her heart valve, and they were told her condition was at the very least life-threatening.
“It was like a nightmare. I’d never heard of an anomaly like that in my daughter,” Kearney said.
After a couple of days, however, Kelsey recovered, and she’s grown into an overachieving, light-hearted, joyous toddler.
“She’s full of energy and is a ball of laughing,” Kearney said. “She calls me Mommy, and she’s our life and we love her dearly. She’s our princess.”
At a family party during the Canadian Lions’ recent Super Bowl win, Kelsey revealed the special gift she got for her first birthday — a heart that pumps air through her lungs.
At the same party, the Kearneys were at the hospital visiting their oldest daughter, Maxi, who’s also celebrating her first birthday.
“She got an iPad, a new Xbox and tons of other toys and games. It was the best birthday ever,” Kearney said.
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