Avery Moore has spent every day of her short life in a hospital. Born on February 23, she is in dire need of a heart transplant.
Avery was born with multiple ventricular septal defects, meaning she has not one, but multiple holes in her heart. The holes are “in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart,” according to the American Heart Association.
Avery also has supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) which is known as an irregular heartbeat. She also has cardiomyopathy, which is a disease that manifests so that it is hard for the heart to pump the necessary blood to the rest of the body.
Alison and Steven, the 2-month-old’s parents, are desperate for someone to donate a healthy heart to their daughter, and give her a shot at life.
When Avery was born at 41-weeks, she was believed to be perfectly healthy, but the day following her birth, things began to dramatically change. Avery was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Augusta when she suddenly turned blue. As her condition become more severe she was again transferred — this time to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where doctors quickly assessed Avery and diagnosed her with the heart conditions.
“It was a shock to us,” her father, Steven Moore, said.
On Tuesday, Avery underwent a risky procedure to close the holes in her heart. The procedure, which typically takes two to four hours for older patients, took Avery’s doctors nearly seven hours to complete.
The procedure was successful, but it is only a temporary cure. Her father explained that it was buying them more time, a “bridge to get us to the transplant.”
As the Moore family waits for a heart, 2,000 other children in the U.S. under the age of 18 are too.
Finding a heart donor can takes years to find. There is no actual statistic on how long it takes to get an available heart as it can sometimes take months, but other times years, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “an adult donor heart cannot be transplanted into an infant because the infant’s chest is simply too small to accommodate the large organ. Children must wait for an appropriately sized organ to become available.”
Alison and Steven have been all but living in the hospital with Avery since her birth. Every day they, “wake up, go to [Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta] and sit with her,” her father detailed. “We want to make sure she knows that we’re there for her.”
With each passing day, they hope that the doctors will deliver the good news that they have found a heart.
“It’s pretty irrational, but we sit around [with the hope] that a heart with show up, and they won’t have to come and find us,” Steven added.
They spend days on end at the hospital, but Steven and Alison Moore have barely been able to hold their daughter, due to her critical condition.
“When we hold her, we treasure that moment,” he said. “It makes the smaller stuff so much more important.”
The Moore’s live in Augusta, Georgia, but haven’t been home since Avery’s birth two months ago. Thankfully, their friends have given them “overwhelming” support, according to Avery’s father. Not just with their thoughts and prayers, but helping to take care of responsibilities back home, like their two dogs, while they stay with their daughter in Atlanta. People they have never even met have been reaching out, offering their support and well-wishes for Avery.
They routinely get comments through Avery’s Facebook page, and many have even donated to their fundraiser for Avery. Avery’s Facebook page has over 5,000 members, who are all a huge support system for the Moore family.
The support does not stop there, as Steven and Alison have developed great relationships with the different nurses that take care of Avery. Steven said they have “fallen in love” with the nurses, and that they truly care about Avery.
“They love her as much as we do,” he said.
But most of all, the couple leans on each other as their main support systems.
“It has brought us closer together as a married couple. When she [Alison] breaks down, I find myself being stronger in those moments,” he said. He added that the situation goes both ways, and that Alison has done the same for him.
Steven and Alison continue to hope each day that they will get the message from a doctor that someone was giving them a heart.
Steven and his wife know “what it would mean” for a family to donate a heart to Avery but also that “it’s an opportunity for their heart to live on through our daughter,” Steven said. “It would mean so much to us,” he added.
Please keep the Moore’s in your prayers.