Meet Tiny Light Phoenix. She was born pink, healthy and beautiful, into a family full of love and laughter. Then suddenly, at exactly eight weeks old, Phoenix became fussy, then really fussy. Mom’s intuition told her that Phoenix needed help right away so she was taken to the ER. Mom was right. Not long after their arrival at the hospital, Pheonix' heart stopped. Thankfully, she was revived and flown to CHEO where it was determined she had Cardio Myopathy most likely caused by a virus attacking her heart, which was turning it into a big, mushy ball that pressed on her lungs. Phoenix was in grave danger. After a few weeks in CHEO ICU, she was flown to Sick Kids Hospital to be assessed for a heart transplant. Shortly after her arrival, Phoenix suffered cardiac arrest, and was down for 10mins. This led to her being the smallest patient ever to receive a Berlin Heart to support her until she received a heart transplant in August 2009.
Now, five years later, to meet Phoenix on the street, no one would know of her health battle. She is such a strong and vibrant little girl. She loves colouring, doing cartwheels, ice skating, dancing, and playing anything with her sister. She loves life and embraces new things weekly.
The future for Phoenix is complicated. She takes anti-rejection drugs every 12 hours. These drugs have done a good job keeping rejection away, but are highly toxic and come with many side effects. She has suffered several pneumonias, and is at high risk for cancer and kidney failure. She is currently on a low potassium diet, as her kidneys are starting to struggle with managing the anti-rejection drugs. She is also at risk of this new heart failing and needing another transplant. Her family’s biggest hope and dream for her is to live a long and happy life.
Story written by Angela Reimche
Images Captured by Jennifer Boggett Photography