Meet Chy’Anne, a remarkable miracle baby who is the delight of all she encounters and is blessed with intelligence and empathy far beyond her years.
Chy’Anne was born with a form of congenital heart disease known as HLHS or Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, an under-developed left side of the heart. She was also born with Heterotaxy Syndrome with Polysplenia which is a abnormal positioning of the visceral organs in the chest and abdomen. She has undergone three open heart surgeries in her first three years of life as is normal for children born with this condition and who survive to progress through these surgeries.
The first sugery was six weeks after birth, the second at 18 months and the final one was just recently in May at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. Following this last surgery, her great-grandmother Winnona Smith of Englewood East was linked up with Children’s Dream Fund, a Florida based foundation similar to the Make A Wish Foundation that grants a child’s wish. One activity that Chy’Anne really loved was going to the playground at the park which carried risks due to her suppressed immune system and the chance of catching a communicable virus. So, her wish was to have a playground in her own back yard, and it was installed August 20th. And oh, what a wonderful playground it is! The play structure comes with interchangeable pieces to offer a variety of experiences if she tires of one activity. Chy’Anne can hardly wait to use it in the mornings when she arises and throughout the day. She certainly deserves some fun as she is under the care of five different medical specialists that she visits each month. She also attends PPEC Daycare in Sarasota, designed to provide medical supervision to handle her myriad of medical needs six days a week. Chy’Anne was born with a paralyzed left vocal cord and wasn’t able to speak until 19 months of age. Her first word was “alligator,” and she quickly caught up with her speech development. She has a feeding tube but can also eat food. Her favorite foods are grapes, pizza and any kind of chips and her favorite color is pink.
Chy’Anne is very sociable and all the residents in her neighborhood know and love her. She enjoys her morning walk with her Papaw (great-grandfather) around the block every morning, something she was unable to do until just recently. Swimming and the beach are fun favorites. She also loves all animals (no bugs, thank you) and feeds grapes to Darwin, the gopher tortoise who lives under the backyard shed. There are two family dogs and one of her favorite activities is watching police K-9 videos on Tik Tok – she knows those dogs’ names and has her favorites. Chy’Anne is full of energy and life and views herself as a normal child because the family decided that her medical disabilities will never become a crutch for her. In spite of her complex medical needs, Chy’Anne lives a very full and active life and now her heart surgeries are finished until she is about 30. At that time she will become a candidate for a heart transplant.
This young child with her joyful love of life will certainly make her mark in the world.