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Fundraiser Benefits New Baby in Need of Heart Transplant

At twenty weeks of pregnancy, Tess and John Sansbury went to the doctor for a check-up and learned that their baby would be a girl.
 
The celebration was short-lived, though, when the Sansburys were informed that the baby girl would have hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare condition in which the left ventricle is missing.
 
The couple was asked whether they wanted to proceed with the pregnancy.
 
"We considered the option, but then we decided to move forward with the pregnancy," said John. "We wanted to give her a chance. If medicine could give her that chance, we wanted to do it. We decided to name her Hope, because she gives us hope in our hearts."
 
Hope was born on July 25, and a medical plan was developed and she is being treated by a leading doctor at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
 
"There is a three-part treatment for babies with this condition," said Hope's grandfather, also named John. "Three surgeries called the Norwood, the Glenn, and the Fontan are performed and that helps her heart be able to take over and perform the function of the left ventricle."
 
But after Hope had the first surgery, she went into heart failure.
 
The medical plan changed, and the doctor said Hope needed a transplant.
 
Hope Sansbury, who weighs only 11.2 pounds, is now classified as priority 1A on the transplant list.
 
A fundraiser was held last weekend at the Florence Senior Center for Baby Hope and her family. The fundraiser was coordinated with the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA), which helps children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. This organization doesn't charge for its services, and 100 percent of any funds raised for patients are available for transplant related expenses. 
 
Though the situation is serious, the fundraiser offered fun times for kids and families, with lots of painting on faces, rocks, and canvas, and playtime on bouncy houses, and music by the Emily Parker Band.
 
John and Tess spoke to the crowd, thanking them for their support.
 
"It has been a wild roller coaster ride and our lives will never be the same," said John. "My daughter has taught me to celebrate the small victories. She has taught me to live in the moment. I am as proud a father as I can be." He paused. "I just love her."
 
Tess said the one word to describe how she felt was lucky.
 
"We felt lucky when we found out we live in a city with a surgeon that specializes in what our daughter has," she said. "We are lucky to be surrounded by so many people who care. At the hospital they asked us what sustains us. What sustains us is to be Hope's mom and dad. When I look into her eyes, it is hard to believe she is not perfect."
 
To donate to the effort for baby Hope, contact cota.org and follow the instructions to find the family of Hope Sansbury.
 
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor