In honor of National Heart Awareness Month, one local girl is looking to bring hope
When looking at seven-year-old Charlotte Lyon, she seems like any other little girl who loves makeup and having a good time. No one would know by looking at her, that she was born with a serious heart defect. Doctors found that she has hypo-plastic left heart syndrome, AV Canal, and a hypo-plastic aortic arch. Being born here in Meridian, she was quickly flown to UAB at only a few days old, where doctors offered no hope.
“We were told to plan or funeral or pray for a miracle. So, we prayed for a miracle, and here she is,” said her mother, Sally Madison, as she fought back tears.
After four open heart surgeries (with her first at just nine days old) before the age of four, Charlotte is now perfectly healthy.
“Having my mama, having a great family. It’s just been great,” said Charlotte.
Though she’s had all the surgeries she needs for now, there is one more in the distant future.
“She will have to have a heart transplant when she is older. They’ve projected in her late teens or early 20’s, but for her to keep her own heart as long as she can—that’s the goal and that’s what we want,” said Madison.
Through this whole process, her mother fell in love with cardiac nursing, and, is now, one herself.
“When she was in the PICU at the children’s hospital, I fell in love with everything that they were doing. I was so intrigued by the pumps, the ventilators, the medications, the terminology- so I went to nursing school, and now I’m a Pediatric Cardiac ICU Nurse.”
While she offers an extra layer of comfort to parents of children with heart defects, she is constantly thinking about her miracle and who she is growing up to be.
“My favorite, absolutely favorite, thing about her is she always thinks about other people instead of herself. I can honestly say is that she’s a very selfless little girl.”
Charlotte goes for check-ups every three months with everything being clear for the past four years.