Baby Felicity recovering following open heart surgery

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month prompts crowd funding campaign for local family

CHD AWARENESS - Baby Felicity sleeps next to her brother Christopher

CHD AWARENESS - Baby Felicity sleeps next to her brother Christopher

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On August 16, 2016 the population of Sylvan Lake grew by one tiny beautiful soul.

Baby Felicity was born to Stephanie Chenard and Christopher Elder at 35 weeks in the Foothills Hospital in Calgary weighing just three a half pounds. At the Foothills Hospital Felicity was diagnosed with two heart defects. Following her diagnosis of a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD), Felicity was rushed to the Stollery Childrens’ Hospital in Edmonton.

An immediate surgery was conducted at the tender age of only six days old. As she continued to healthily gain weight following the first surgery, a second was planned for her 8-10 lbs weigh in which surgeons placed a Pulmonary Artery (PA) band on her tiny heart.

“I had gone to a specialist ultrasound appointment in Calgary and was induced later that day. Felicity was born at 5:12 a.m.,” explained Chenard on the day Felicity was born. “She was born with a block on the right side of her heart. She started medication almost immediately to allow flow. It took us nearly four days to get a diagnosis and we would spend the next eight weeks in the Stollery.”

Two weeks ago Felicity underwent open heart surgery at only six months old. Surgeons worked to repair her pulmonary artery which is not circular as it should be placing a patch on a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of her heart to repair a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).

Following the surgery, two tubes were placed in the baby’s tiny body to allow for drainage. The tubes have not been taken out and Felicity’s road to recovery continues.

“Being away from home has been the hardest part we’ve had about two months in our home since she was born,” said Chenard. She explained they often stay in hotels near the hospital when the Ronald McDonald House is at capacity. The added expenditures of hotel rooms and driving back and forth to Edmonton has played a financial toll. “It all adds up and we’re doing what we can but it’s tough when I’m not able to get back to work.”

Felicity’s condition has and will continue to involve a great deal of travel for doctor, pediatrics and cardiology visits often requiring her to stay in Edmonton for periods of days and months at a time. There are also expenses regarding the special care and medical requirements for Felicity such as a special diet.

In lieu of CHD Awareness Week which takes place from February 7-14, Sylvan Lake resident Jackie Steeves has created a compassionate crowd funding campaign asking citizens of Sylvan Lake and area to find it in their hearts to help heal Felicity’s.

“I’m so thankful for my mom and my family who have been their to help me with Felicity and with her older brother, Christopher, who is now two and half,” said Chenard. “And to Jackie and everyone else who has helped your support means so much.”

The crowd funding campaign is currently being hosted on YouCaring and can be found at www.youcaring.com/stephaniechenard-742183 or by searching Stephanie Chenard at www.youcaring.com

Stephanie is grateful of every avenue of support whether it be simply words, cards of encouragement, a cash donation towards the on going expenses, material donations of diapers for either child, formula, food or gas cards.

For more information contact Jackie Steeves at jackielsteeves@gmail.com.