Heart transplant gives 2-year old Toledo girl a second chance at life

Emmalyn Rowan is battling Congenital Heart Disease, medical staff explain a new heart is the only hope for a long healthy life
Emmalyn Rowan is battling Congenital Heart Disease, medical staff explain a new heart is the only hope for a long healthy life
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WTVG) - Emmalyn Rowan Is just like most 2-year-old girls, she loves playing princess, ringing in holidays, and making new friends...but she’s doing it all from a hospital bed.

“She’s been getting sicker, and despite everything we can think of to support her, we’ve watched her dwindle, and we get more and more worried,” said Dr. Kurt Schumacher Director of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Pediatric Transplant Program.

Since birth, Emmalyn has battled congenital heart disease. Within the last year, her condition worsened drastically.

“Emmalyn’s heart is very unique and proved to be something despite our best efforts and people thinking as inventively as we could to try and repair it, it just didn’t work for her.”

Medical professionals at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, lead by Dr. Kurt Schumacher decided a heart transplant was her only hope. After 303 days of waiting a heart finally arrived -- but a gift doctors say is the difference between life and death.

“There are children who die waiting on a heart transplant, we were really worried that might be the case with Emma with the rate she was going.”

With a plan in place -- doctors and nurses gave Emmalyn a heroic send-off before surgery, lining the halls of the hospital. Medical staff and patients applauded, cheered, and sent well wishes as the toddler was rushed into surgery for over 12 hours.

“The gift that they gave us is something that will live on in Emmalyn and I hope that her life will always celebrate that donor with us,” said Emmalyn’s mother Nicole Becker. “There’s just something about her that no matter what I know she is going to give it her all and come out with a smile. She just fights with everything she’s got.”

Emmalyn is now recovering and recently regained consciousness after her surgery. Her family and medical team hope her story can inspire others to donate a second chance at life.

“It gives people a chance at a life where they would be no other chance,” said Dr. Schumacher. “In this case, it took a 2-year old who most certainly would have died, and now I have every expectation that she’s going to live a long healthy life. And there are many other kids just like that who are waiting, it’s so important, and everyone should think strongly about becoming an organ donor.”

You can register to become an organ donor by visiting this link. Emmalyn’s loved ones are also sharing her journey on Facebook.

A Go-Fund-Me account has also been set up to assist with medical expenses for Emmalyn.

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