Stories of the Heart: Taisley, Strong and Mighty
From the very first photos we received of Taisley her mischievous smiling eyes and little hands thrown up in her trademark peace signs, she captured all of our hearts. I read her story, how her family took her to the doctor over and over as she fought pneumonia time and time again. I heard the pain in their words as they wrote, “The doctors have said without surgery, her heart has no chance to heal.”
When they received the news that their daughter would indeed receive heart surgery through LWB’s Unity Initiative, they were overjoyed and overwhelmed, thrilled beyond words for the chance for hope, and terrified for the inevitable risks that accompany heart surgery.
Hope was worth the risk, and together, they walked into the hospital ready to face the days to come.
Taisely went in for her lifesaving heart surgery and did better than any of us could have hoped. I watched her updates come in and couldn’t believe my eyes. There she was just a few days later, sitting up in bed with a fresh bandage down her chest, covering her healing, new brave scar.
I traveled to her province just the week after her surgery and couldn’t wait to meet her. I couldn’t wait to see her thriving and to meet her parents, the ones sitting and waiting by her side through these days of healing and hope.
I walked into her room and was amazed to see sweet Taisley sitting up in bed. She was drawing pictures, shyly waving to me with a “Ni hao, Ayi” welcome. Her parents hugged me with tears in their eyes and told me all about their brave girl: how smart she is, how loved she is, and how scared they were to lose her.
“She is like the sun in our life – she makes everything bright,” her father said to me and then looked quickly away. I sat with Taisley and colored a picture with her there in her hospital bed. I knew exactly what he meant.
Outcome is never guaranteed, and the life now shining through Taisley’s little grin will never be taken for granted. She will heal, and she will go home, that newly repaired brave heart now beating strong.
Together with her parents, the ones who never left her side, HOPE will continue to rise.
Partnering with these families and seeing their fight, their hope, their love is one of the greatest gifts of my life. They dare me to be brave and dare me to choose hope over and over again.
What a future. What a girl. We can’t wait to watch her shine.
~Meredith Toering, Director of International Cardiac Care