Heart Defects Week declared in Princeton

The Princeton City Council declared the week of Feb. 7-14, 2012, Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week, after the observance was requested by a mother who lost an infant daughter a little more than a month after birth.

The woman, Melissa Ternes, Princeton, explained to the council last Thursday how daughter Lucy was born to her and her husband Michael on Sept. 12, 2011, with two congenital heart diseases (CHD). One was tricuspid atresia and was detected prenatally, and the other was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and was discovered postnatal.

Lucy went into heart failure when she was less than a week old and her one and only chance of survival was a heart transplant, according to Melissa, who explained that Lucy received the transplant on Oct. 7, one of the youngest to have that done.

“Unfortunately, Lucy was so sick prior to transplant that her body was not strong enough and Lucy died on Oct. 20,” Melissa said.

Lucy also left behind a sister Skylar, 9, and a brother Bryce, 6, who Melissa said wanted nothing more than to bring their little sister home.

“CHD has become very important to our family because with good medical care and early detection so many lives could be saved,” Melissa told the council. “Making parents aware will help them to know signs of heart troubles their child may show and how to help children around them who may have a CHD.”

Melissa added that she and Michael would be working on a fund-raiser for the cause.