Young girl needs heart surgery

Photos by Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Photos by Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

When she's feeling good, 5-year-old Maddyson Palmer likes to play with her dolls, or "babies," as she refers to them. She likes to dress up pretty, put on make-up and dance.

"All the normal things," said her mom, Mandi. "And she's very bossy. She likes to tell people what to do."

But when she's not feeling good - and those days are increasingly more frequent - she's cranky and tired, but fights going to sleep, making her even more irritable.

"She fights hard, too," Mandi said. "She's very stubborn."

And Mandi is relying on her to be fighter as Maddyson goes in for a high-risk heart surgery on Jan. 24.

"It's a dangerous surgery anyway," Mandi explained, "but for her it's even more dangerous because one of her coronary arteries is deformed. They don't want to do it, but there's no other choice. If they don't, she won't make it."

At 2 months old, doctors detected a heart murmur then diagnosed Maddyson with aortic stenosis, or a narrowing of the aortic valve.

She had a procedure to open the aorta and a month later under went open heart surgery. At 2, she had surgery again to remove two anuerisms from her aorta and do repair work to the valve that had been damaged in the first procedure.

Mandi said that repair lasted three months.

Since then, doctors have been monitoring Maddyson carefully, knowing she needed a valve replacement, but holding off as long as possible because of the risks involved.

Now, they can't wait any longer.

"It's scary because if they don't do it, the outcome is horrible," Mandi said. "If they do do it, it could still be bad."

Although Mandi's work has been flexible, giving her time off and holding her job for her, she is out of sick leave and will not be paid while taking care of Maddyson.

A fundraiser is planned 5-8 p.m. Jan. 13 at High Sierra Brewery.

She needs help covering travel and living expenses while Maddyson is in the Sunrise Children's Hospital in Las Vegas, then during recovery once they return home.

She won't know how long that will take until after the surgery. Last time, she said, Maddyson was in the hospital for two weeks then recuperating at home for four.

"I think it will be harder this time because I know what's it's going to be like," she said. "And it's going to be harder for her because she's older and knows more what's going on."

But she clings to the hope that it will be worth it.

"If she makes it through, she'll be so much happier," Mandi said.

You Can Help

To help Mandi and Maddyson Palmer with living and travel expenses, make donations to Greater Nevada Credit Union account no. 918408.

If you go

WHAT: Fundraiser for Maddyson Palmer

WHEN: 5-8 p.m. Jan. 13

WHERE: High Sierra Brewery, 302 N. Carson St.


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