LeDarius was born in Marion, Ohio, and transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital at just 24 hours old. At birth, his physicians suspected he may have Down syndrome. Two days later, test confirmed he not only had Down syndrome but congenital heart defects as well.
In his 37 days spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, LeDarius required a G-tube and underwent preparations for open heart surgery that would occur a few months later when he was stronger.
“The news about the heart defects was much more concerning than the Down syndrome. I was terrified to think about my little baby having open heart surgery. But after several meetings with his cardiologist and surgeon, I began to feel better about the procedure,” says LeDarius’ mom, Stephanie.
When LeDarius was five months old, he underwent open heart surgery. Dr. Patrick McConnell repaired an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) and Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA).
“LeDarius would not have been able to receive the care he needed to survive if he was not transported that day. It was a scary time for all of us but his team of doctors, nurses and hospital staff made it a little easier. I love the way his doctors kept us informed – good and bad – about his progress and future plans. We travel to Columbus now for all his appointments just to come to Nationwide Children’s,” says Stephanie.
The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has expertise, compassion and the most advanced technologies. As the leader in pediatric care, Nationwide Children’s offers cardiology services, cardiothoracic surgery, and everything else that is expected at a nationally-renowned heart center.
In his short life, LeDarius already has demonstrated immense strength amidst challenges. He has fought pneumonia twice, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), tonsil and adenoid removal, three sets of ear tubes in addition to G-tube placement and closure and open heart surgery.
“LeDarius is one tough kid. He always has a smile on his face and is loving and caring to everyone he meets,” says Stephanie.
Today, LeDarius is a happy and healthy seven-year-old who loves music and dancing. Each year he participates in and leads his own team in the Columbus Buddy Walk. He is doing exceptionally well at school, learning to read and working hard on his speech.
When you meet LeDarius, you will find him with a huge grin and will inevitably feel his contagious enthusiasm for life.