They’re the world’s tiniest little warriors, now wearing battle scars after the fight of their lives. This picture of hope, showing seven babies with scars on their chests from heart surgery, is a reminder of the life-saving work performed at hospitals every day.
Kelly and Michael Blumenthal have just helped their son Finn celebrate his first birthday – a huge accomplishment because it means “he lived through the most difficult part of his life and made it!”.
Little Finn, the subject of the Facebook page Prayers for Baby Finn, was born with a rare combination of heart defects. Doctors didn’t think he would survive the birth, let alone his first year. But here he his.
“He spent his entire life in the hospital and endured 10 surgeries including one open heart surgery. He will need at least two more before the age of three, but for now, we are enjoying time home,” Kelly says.
But the Virginia mum says it’s not all about her boy, rather all the babies who go through life with heart defects.
“Before we were placed on this journey, we had never heard of congenital heart defects, so when we received the diagnosis at 19 weeks pregnant, we felt pretty alone,” Kelly tells Love What Matters.
“After spending months in the hospital, we networked with tons of families just like us learning that CHD effects one in 100 babies and that we were most definitely NOT alone.
“We were able to get some of the babies together for a beautiful photo which now hangs in the UVA Children’s Hospital as well as their outpatient cardiology clinic. You can see all of their scars but they are so perfect and beautiful. It’s a vision of hope.
“All of these babies were operated on around the same time, in the same hospital, by the same doctor and we all live in the same area. We are planning to get together every year.”
Closer to home, we have our own team of doctors performing similar miracles on newborns every day.
As the largest paediatric cardiac centre in Australia, Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital looks after the tiniest cardiac patients from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory and also helps children from Hong Kong, south-east Asia, Mauritius, the Pacific islands and Africa.
The hospital’s Cardiac Surgery Unit performs 700 operations every year, with an emphasis on treatment of neonatal and complex congenital cardiac problems.
Today is their annual Good Friday Appeal raises vital funds for equipment, research and education to support the work of The Royal Children’s Hospital.
More than $291 million has been raised for the hospital since the Good Friday Appeal began in 1931. You can make a donation to this year’s appeal online.
(Images via Facebook. Main image via Simply Charming Photography)