CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Two girls. Two very different results. Same disease.
It's notable to read an email from a high school senior pleading to get attention for Congenital Heart Defects because CHD is why she fights odds to survive... only to moments later get an email about a baby girl who wasn't as lucky in her own CHD battle.
The families don't know each other and had no idea the other was writing.
First, Brianna. She's a 17-year-old Caldwell Career Center Middle College student from Hudson, NC who was diagnosed with CHD at two days old.
I am glad Brianna reached out. She listed incredible obstacles CHD has put in her life, asked if she could be one of ?#MollysKids and then listed all the ways she is thriving.
These two pictures show her with a driver's license and going to junior prom.
At birth Briana had a kink in her aorta, three holes in the septum of her heart and a ventricular septal defect (VSD).
At four days old she had her first open heart surgery. She had her second open heart surgery at the age of two. Her third six months later.
Brianna's fourth and final surgery was at age 14 - a new, mechanical mitral valve was put inside her body. It's supposed to last 30 years.
All of this, along with only having one kidney and several complicated operations to fix a severe curve in her spine, means operations and hospital stays have consumed Brianna's childhood.
"As difficult as all those surgeries have been, they've also saved my life," she said. "I'm proud to be where I am."
Brianna updates this Facebook page with her progress: http://tinyurl.com/q6p9gjp
And now to the sweet little girl shown in the bottom two photos… Addy Lu was only five and a half months old when she died.
She was born last December with CHD and had a heart transplant in January.
Addy Lu was from Church Hill, Tennessee, but her mom, April, lived in our area for years and many of you know her. April lived in Lincolnton and Cherryville.
While Addy was in the hospital her mom, April, went out of her way to make sure the other babies with CHD got the attention she says they deserved.
Now, even after her daughter's death, April wants to continue making sure CHD babies have everything they need.
She says she is starting a fundraiser in Addy's name to buy Tula Baby Carriers for parents of babies with CHD. These carriers hold heart babies close to their moms and dads and keep their hearts in tune.
April carried Addy in one. She said the memories are precious.
You can follow April's progress on her Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/pbh8t9u
Thank you, Brianna and April, for sharing your stories. I think it's some sort of sign to get notes about you about the same time… maybe a sign we could all use more awareness on CHD? I'm including research links below.
Paragraph on CHD -- http://tinyurl.com/o9kp3fy
Panthers player Greg Olsen charity for CHD -- http://www.givecarolinas.org/halveaheart/ (Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation)
More in-depth information on CHD -- http://tinyurl.com/kex96bk