AURORA, Colo. — At just 3 years old, a little boy with a heart of gold, needs a new one.
Walker White was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. About 8% of kids with congenital heart defects suffer from it.
“The left ventricle of the heart is under developed. His is 1/6 the size ours is,” explains Walker’s mother, Kristin Brown.
Less than a week into his life, Walker had heart surgery and then another only months later.
The stickers on his head are where the oxygen tubes go at night. Until only two weeks ago, Walker needed help breathing all day.
“It’s sad. It is sad for me. We’ve gotten used to it because we have seen these stickers for so long,” Brown said.
His condition means Walker isn’t able to do a lot things children his age can.
“I took him to the park for the first time and actually got to see our 3 year old go down the slide and not get tangled. I got to see him play on the swing for the first time. At 3 1/2 it’s wonderful and happy, but it makes you take a step back as a parent and go, ‘he’s missed out on so much,'” said Brown.
At the end of last year, Brown and Doug White were told their son would need a heart transplant and that they needed to move from Albuquerque to Aurora immediately. By March, Walker’s parents quit their jobs and moved to Colorado. They now wait for their son’s number to be called.
“The thought of a heart transplant, I mean… I don’t even know how to put those feelings in the words. Somebody else has to lose their child so that mine can survive,” Brown told Denver7.
The family moved into Brent’s Place, a long-term home for children and families with life-threatening illnesses. A true blessing since up until weeks ago, the family was without an income for months, burning through their entire life savings. However, their one income is just enough to cover the basic needs.
“We still have insurance, we still have phone bills, he is still growing like a weed. I’ve had to buy him two pairs of shoes just this summer,” Brown said.
It could be another year before Walker receives his heart transplant. They know their little guy will have to handle some hardships along the way, but Mom knows her baby boy can handle it.
“He’s the strongest of us all,” Brown said of her son.
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