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In Honor of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week Edith’s Heart House Wish

Dec 20, 2021 07:00AM ● By Med Magazine

Edith has been surrounded by people who are willing to go to great lengths for her since before she was born. When  Edith’s mom was still pregnant with her, her parents found out that she had congenital heart disease. Edith’s mom and dad wanted to give her the best chance at surviving her condition, so they chose to travel to a specialty clinic where Edith could be cared for by experts when she was born.

Throughout the first few years of her life, Edith’s parents did everything they could to give her a “normal” childhood, making tough decisions that help her in the present while her future is uncertain. When she was nine months old, Edith had her first  open heart surgery. She had her second open heart surgery about a year later.  Though these surgeries have helped to correct her heart defect for now, they may pose health challenges for her in the future.  Despite low oxygen saturations, frequent doctor visits and two open heart surgeries, Edith has grown into an imaginative, sweet and energetic 3-year-old. She loves to be creative and play pretend with her family.

After Edith was referred to Make-A-Wish by her pediatric cardiology nurse, and then qualified for a wish, her incredible story inspired a community to come together to make her wish come true. Edith wished to have a playhouse that would match her creative personality.  Each detail of Edith’s playhouse was designed with her in mind.  The walls of the playhouse were covered with photos of her family and it was decorated with all of her favorite toys. Edith’s wish started with a referral, and ended with an incredible, life-changing experience for a three-year-old with congenital heart disease. 

You can help kids like Edith by referring a child with a critical illness to Make-A-Wish.  For guidance regarding eligibility within subspecialty departments, review the referral guidance sheets at wish.org/medical-referral.

“Seeing Edith's Wish come true brought so much joy to me as a nurse.  We see these patients grow up and witness everything they go through during their lifelong cardiac journey.  Seeing them outside of the medical setting so excited for their wish is so much fun.  These wishes help them experience a little bit of normalcy and help them look forward to the future. I feel like Edith's wish will continue to bring her joy every day and just let her be a kid, rather than having to think about what's next medically.  Even if this is just a small amount of time, it's worth every second!” 

- Edith’s referral source, Angela Nielsen, RN, CPN