Molly's Kids: Layla Hird is going to Boston for open heart surge - | WBTV Charlotte

Molly's Kids: Layla Hird is going to Boston for open heart surgery

(Photo courtesy of Layla's family) (Photo courtesy of Layla's family)
(Photo courtesy of Layla's family) (Photo courtesy of Layla's family)
(Photo courtesy of Layla's family) (Photo courtesy of Layla's family)
(WBTV) -

“30 Kids. 30 Stories. 30 Days.” was in September, but amazing #MollysKids are year-round. Any local child facing an uphill medical battle can (and should be) lifted up when needed, and this morning it’s needed for sweet Layla Hird.

Layla’s mom Cashawnda Connelly, and dad Darryl Hird, are asking that you read about their 8-year-old daughter.

Problems started at birth when Layla was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease and Dandy Walker Malformation. She spent two weeks in the NICU at Forsyth Hospital only to contract an intestinal bacteria infection.

“She was really sick,” said mom Cashawnda Connelly. “Doctors told us all we could do was pray. So we did.”

Prayer worked. At least for a bit. But at 4 months old, she got a feeding tube put in through her nose and was on oxygen 24-hours a day.

At 8 months old little Layla had to have two surgeries because she had two holes in her heart and too much blood was getting in her lungs. One of those surgeries put a band on her pulmonary artery. That band helped slow the flow of blood, but it also made her oxygen saturation levels low. At times, Layla’s fingers, toes and lips would turn purple from the red and blue blood mixing.

Despite all that, she stayed stable.

Then, mom Cashawnda was diagnosed with Stage III aggressive breast cancer.

“I was 25 years old, pregnant again and battling cancer,” says Cashawnda. “I did what I could.”

She did great. She saved her own life, the life of her new baby AND continued to take care of Layla, who continued to grow.

Fast forward to March 2014. Another curve ball. Doctors said Layla needed open heart surgery.

“Doctors said if we didn’t get the surgery her blood would continue to mix,” Cashawnda said. “And due to the unoxygenated blood to the brain, she’d eventually turn purple, develop cyanosis and die.”

So, Cashawnda took action. She has had multiple opinions and finally now has an appointment for Layla to have open heart surgery at Boston Children's Hospital two weeks from now on October 26.

Cashawnda said they'll get there October 19 and have a week of tests leading up to the big day.

“I’m happy and scared,” Cashawnda said. “Grateful for medical experts and these appointments, but it’s also my little girl. Right now Layla is the happiest 8-year-old you could ever meet. She’s currently enrolled at Newton-Conover City Schools and reaching her goals. I want her to stay happy.”

Layla has three brothers and sisters. Her mom has her hands full, but still reaches out to others in need. In spite of what Cashawnda was going through, she’d started helping another one of our #MollysKids when they were in need.

It’s those kinds of things that hit home. Giving to others when your own life seems so up-and-down.

I just wanted to send Cashawnda a little love. She sent me photos and knows that this morning Layla is becoming the newest one of our #MollysKids. What she doesn’t know is that we really just want to give her some credit for hanging in there, taking care of her kids and being a Survivor herself.

PLEASE let us know how it goes in Boston. We’ll be wondering.


*Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there – which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here.


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