COLUMBIA, SC — The message on the front of 10-month-old Kathryn Ann Mullis’ Thanksgiving onesie says it all: “Everyone’s thankful for me.”
Kathryn Ann, the daughter of Colleen and Stephen Mullis of Columbia and sister of 3-year-old Vann, seemed perfectly healthy at birth last spring. But her eight-week exam revealed life-threatening heart problems — an enlarged left ventricle, thickened walls and a non-compacted heart.
Medications didn’t help. The tiny girl needed a heart transplant. Kathryn Ann was the youngest and smallest patient ever to have a Berlin artificial heart surgically implanted at MUSC while she waited for a donation.
Colleen Mullis of Columbia learned that her daughter, Kathryn Ann, had a life threatening condition called Dilated cardiomyopathy during her 8 week well visit with her pediatrician. Now at 10-months-old, Kathryn Ann is quickly recovering from a recent heart transplant.
After months of preparation and delays, Kathryn Ann got a new heart Sept. 20. She came home Oct. 24, and in her first week in Columbia went to EdVenture, Boo at the Zoo and the USC-Tennessee football game.
“We’re so thankful for the doctors, so thankful for the support system we had, so thankful for our friends, so thankful she’s such a fighter,” said Colleen Mullis.
And the most difficult “thank you” is reserved for the anonymous family that made the decision to donate the organs of their dying child.
“I want to write a letter to the donor family, but it’s so hard,” said Colleen Mullis, who isn’t allowed to contact the donor family yet. “How do you find the words?”
Colleen’s usually great with words.
If you’ve got an hour or two and want an emotional boost, go to Kathryn Ann’s CaringBridge site —
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