The inspiration to start the Hearts for Kylee Foundation is my four-year-old daughter, Kylee Faith. She was born with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) and shortly after birth, she was fitted with a pacemaker. Unfortunately, Kylee's health rapidly deteriorated and when she was two months old we were told she needed a heart transplant to survive. After an agonizing seven week wait in the hospital, Kylee received a heart transplant at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. The next four years were a medical and emotional roller coaster, but thanks to the wonderful doctors and nurses at Joe DiMaggio, Kylee is thriving and leading a happy life.
Thankfully, my husband and I received the support we needed from our family and friends, but during my visits to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, I met families with children hospitalized with CHD that were not as fortunate. Long stays in the hospital at their child's bedside have taken an emotional and financial toll on the families of these children. Some parents have exhausted their financial means in order to be with their sick child and have difficulty just getting through the day. Due to their dire financial predicament, they sometimes do not even have the funds to buy food for themselves, or to afford the gas to drive to the hospital everyday. Often, these parents have no one to turn to for emotional or financial help.
My heart reached out to all the families I met, and especially to those not as blessed as my husband and I. Now that I have the opportunity to help these families, I am determined to do as much as I can to lessen their burdens. Hearts For Kylee Foundation was therefore founded to provide both emotional support and non medical financial aid to families with a child hospitalized with CHD.
On May 22, 2015, Kylee earned her angel wings.
During her four years with us, Kylee lived each moment to the fullest. She always had a smile on her face and brought so much joy to the lives of those who crossed her path. Kylee was an amazing spirit, wise beyond her years.
Kylee was a fighter and a testament to what great medical care, like that at Joe DiMaggio’s Children's Hospital, can accomplish and as a way to pay it forward, Kylee was an organ donor. Her story though is just one of the many cases that occur every month at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. My husband and I were blessed to have a support network of family and friends to help us, but other families are not so fortunate. The Hearts for Kylee Foundation was created not only to support pediatric cardiac families but also a way for our family to give back and honor Kylee as well as Kylee's heart donor.
Kylee’s smile and her mission will forever live on through The Hearts for Kylee Foundation. In addition to the Hearts for Kylee foundation John and I are members of the Joe DiMaggio Patient/Family Advisory Council and the Committee for the expansion of the hospital.
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