After Brooke was born, her family’s joy quickly turned into fear. Brooke was blue from lack of oxygen, and doctors soon discovered that the newborn had a serious heart defect. Brooke was rushed by ambulance from her hometown of Colorado Springs to Children’s Hospital Colorado for emergency surgery.
“It was the scariest time in my life, but when we arrived at Children’s Colorado, we breathed a sigh of relief,” said Nina, Brooke’s mother. “We knew she was getting the best care available.”
Brooke’s aorta, the major artery that supplies blood from the heart to the rest of the body, was far too narrow – a congenital heart defect that affects approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. She also had a hole in her heart.
When Brooke was just 5 days old, pediatric cardiologist Dr. David Campbell and his team from the Children’s Colorado Heart Institute performed surgery on her tiny heart to open up her aorta.
After hours in the waiting room, Brooke’s family finally received the news they had hoped for: the operation was a success. Five days later, the family returned home with their baby girl, just in time for Christmas.
Since her surgery as a newborn, Brooke has had no complications, and today she is an energetic 11-year-old who loves to hike, ski and play tennis. She still sees a pediatric cardiologist for check-ups every other year, but there are no physical limitations on what she can do. She recently summited the peak of a “14-er,” one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot-tall mountains.
Brooke’s friends say that Brooke is like a light bulb that never turns off.
“She is the happiest, full-of-life child I know,” said Nina. “We will forever be thankful to the doctors and nurses who gave our Brooke the gift of a full life.”
Brooke’s family continues to have a strong connection to the hospital that saved their daughter’s life. They are looking forward to the opening of the new Children’s Colorado in Colorado Springs, so that more families can access world-class pediatric experts close to home.
“When your child is sick, you want to know that the doctors and facilities are the best,” said Nina. “Having a state-of-the-art pediatric hospital right here in Colorado Springs will be a wonderful thing for local families.”