Kingston Murriel Jackson, Mississippi
On July 3, 2012, 5 weeks before my due date, I had an appointment for my 8-month checkup. During the ultrasound the physician could not get a good view of the left ventricle of my son’s heart. He thought it was due to the way he was laying, but wanted to have a pediatric cardiologist look to be sure. Soon after, I visited the cardiologist and was told that my son had hypoplastic left heart syndrome. I immediately tried to convince myself this was something minor and would be easily corrected. Unfortunately the physician told me that Kingston would have to have heart surgery after delivery, a second heart surgery, 5 to 6 months later, and a third surgery a few years later. I thought this was a death sentence. I couldn’t imagine a baby going through something like this.
The following week, we met with the fetal medicine team, the pediatric cardiology surgeon, and staff to prepare us for delivery. My family and I spent a day with support nurses and asking questions of the physicians. We received information on the advances in heart surgery, congenital heart defects, heart health and the success rate of infants that have the three heart surgeries. On August 6th, Kingston was born and had a successful Norwood procedure for his first heart surgery. Five months later Kingston’s Glenn surgery was successful as well. We have been very fortunate to not have any complications and have a healthy, active baby today.
The most interesting part of my family’s story is that we’ve always supported the American Heart Association through donations, walks and at their events for children. Every year I participated in the American Heart Association’s Go Healthy Challenge, but I never thought the efforts, education and research of this organization would affect us personally until Kingston was born. Often people think the AHA’s mission is adult specific and focuses just on the prevention of heart attack and stroke. My work with the organization and having Kingston is a testament of how heart health starts at birth and how important it is to practice prevention every day, for all ages. Kingston has made our family realize that often people take their heart for granted until their faced with a health scare or heart disease. Maintaining Kingston’s health has encouraged each of us to eat better and live more active lifestyles so that we can be here to watch him grow up. Although I was already an advocate for AHA, I am now an even stronger supporter and educator of their mission to prevent heart disease.
– Elizabeth Foster (Kingston’s Mom)