The bond between a baby and their mother begins much before the first tear, the first counting of toes, and the first sweet smile. For Walker, that bond strengthened dramatically during his mother’s 20-week ultrasound when Tabatha learned the fate of her baby in 4 words – hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Within a few days of his birth, Walker would need the first of three open-heart surgeries and eventually, a heart transplant.
As the family tried to absorb the shock of Walker’s devastating diagnosis, they needed to make a decision. Where should they turn for the best possible care for their unborn baby? A cardiologist in Lexington, Kentucky highly recommended Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The family learned that Nationwide Children’s is nationally-ranked for cardiology and heart surgery and cares for children from all over the United States and the world. It was an easy decision.
Tabatha made the 5 ½ hour trip from Kentucky to Columbus, Ohio when it was time for Walker to make his way into the world. As soon as Walker was born, he was whisked away to nearby Nationwide Children’s. Two days later, he had his first open-heart surgery. His second surgery was at 4 months. And finally, in time, Walker went home to be with his three older brothers.
At the age of two, Walker’s condition began to deteriorate. The family returned to Nationwide Children’s in the spring of 2016 so that Walker could undergo a heart transplant. The family was overwhelmed with happiness and deep sadness when the call came that there was a heart available for Walker. They were grateful for the “new heart”; yet the family knew that the gift came because another little angel had earned his or her wings.
Because of that little angel, and the experts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Walker is now able to run and play with his brothers. For the rest of his life, he will need medications; catheters; biopsies; and in 10-15 years, he will need another heart transplant. But today, Walker can hug his mom and the two can celebrate the bond they formed before this amazing little boy was ever born.