BRIGHTON, Colo. (KDVR) — February is American Heart Month and one Brighton family is hoping to bring awareness to congenital heart defects.
About one out of every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect, according to Colorado Children’s Hospital.
Braden and Amanda Gregory said their 2-year-old son, Conor, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect.
“You don’t really get to live the normal childhood life,” Braden said. “You can’t run too far because half your heart essentially doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.”
Conor’s been in and out of the hospital for most of his life.
“Over in Denver, every nurse, if you just say his name, knows who he is even if they have not taken care of him. They go, ‘I know who that Conor Gregory is,'” Amanda said.
Amanda said Conor’s had three open heart surgeries.
They’re now in Philadelphia for a procedure they couldn’t do in Denver, but they ran into complications extending their stay.
“He was actually very critical to where they had to put him on an ECMO machine, a heart and lung machine, to save his life because they didn’t think he would make it,” Amanda said.
But Conor is a fighter like so many others waiting for a new heart.
Last year was a record-setting year for heart transplants, according to preliminary data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, with more than 42,800 organ transplants performed in total.
Conor’s parents said they are hoping to spread awareness and bring him back home to Brighton. A GoFundMe has been set up to help with the family’s medical expenses.
“Getting him home, and living a normal life while he waits for a new heart would be great. His sister missed him for sure. They’re like two peas in a pod. They’re best friends.”
Conor’s family said it could take anywhere from six to 12 months for a heart transplant because of his size, age and blood type.