WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s easily assumed heart conditions affect mainly the elderly, but heart conditions don’t discriminate and can affect anyone at any time, even before they’re born.
Cooper is a normal 11-month-old.
He likes swinging and climbing and loves to smile.
When you consider where Cooper started, it’s pretty incredible he’s come this far this quickly.
“The doctor said “I’m sorry guys, but he has something wrong with his heart,”” remembers Cooper’s mom Marissa.
At 20 weeks gestation, doctors found that Cooper has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome which means the left side of Cooper’s heart stopped growing.
Cooper would later be born at Children’s Mercy and his family learned he’d be facing his first open heart surgery just a few weeks later.
“Two open heart surgeries, and an open chest surgery and he still has one open heart surgery still in place,” says Marissa.
At 22 pounds, Cooper will need to weigh 30 pounds before his next open heart surgery.
His mom expects that surgery to come within the next year.
Having been through several of these complicated procedures has made the process more familiar to Cooper’s family, but never any easier.
“When you walk into a room and you see your child laying in a little warmer and they literally look dead, it really plays with your mind. Bad. But I wouldn’t change it you know. We have Cooper!” laughs Marissa.
Now a year later you would hardly know Cooper has any challenges.
Along with excellent medical care, Cooper’s mom says the support system supplied by the American Heart Association was a huge help for their family.
Because of that – they’ll all be participating in this year’s Heart Walk.
“You never know if it’s gonna affect you until after it’s already happened. It just happens. So come out support us, walk with us – it’s such a great cause,” offers Marissa.