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11:31 AM

KMBC 9: Moms form strong bond after children receive heart diagnosis

By William Joy 

It's been a long journey for 1-year-old Ryker Sparks to smile. It may be a miracle that 1-year-old Stevi Beckerle is here at all.

"He sat down and told me that she was a missing a chamber in her heart," said Brandi Beckerle, Stevi's mother.

Mothers Brandi Beckerle and Haley Sparks' separate but similar journeys started with ultrasounds at 20 weeks.

"Everything up until that point had checked out just fine," Beckerle said.

"There was a chance he would not make it," said Haley Sparks, mother of Ryker.

"She most likely had something called hypoplastic left heart syndrome," Beckerle said.

"(They) sent us home with a lot of information packets. I have a whole bunch in his baby book," Sparks said.

"You feel very isolated. You feel all alone, all of a sudden," Beckerle said.

"We try to prepare them, but it's so hard to really explain what this is," Lori Erickson said. Erickson is the CHAMP Clinical Program Manager in the Heart Center at Children's Mercy.

The heart defect HLHS is rare, affecting about one in every 5,000 children.

But when the mothers felt most alone, they found each other and hope.

The battle is just beginning. The next hurdle for Stevi and Ryker is surgery when they turn 3 years old. If those surgeries do not go well, the children will be put on a transplant list.


Read the full story via KMBC 9

Learn more about the Ward Family Heart Center at Children's Mercy