Something In Common

Born with Congenital Heart Disease, Kendyll Rodriguez and Noah Hollingsworth (l-r) congratulate each other on being a survivor and staying strong. Each has undergone surgeries to fix the problems they have with their hearts. They can participate in activities just like other children their age.

Two Hutchins Elementary students, Noah Hollingsworth and Kendyll Rodriguez, are being honored during the school’s month-long Kids Heart Challenge, a fundraiser once known as Jump Rope for Heart.

“My American Heart Association representative contacted them after I told her we had a couple of ‘Heart Heroes’ on our campus,” Hutchins instructor Lizabeth Conrad said. “We are honoring them this month as we do our Kids Heart Challenge fundraiser. We are teaching students that people of any age can have ‘sick hearts.’”

Conrad presented each with a special Heart Hero red cape to commemorate the honor.

Born premature at 28 weeks and weighing only 1 pound, 15 ounces, Hollingsworth was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) called Truncus Arteriosus. He underwent his first open heart surgery Jan. 2, 2012, another on Nov. 20, 2020 and according to doctors should not have to have another one for 10 years. He has no restrictions on activities.

“I feel great and have more energy than ever,” he said. “I wish all kids with sick hearts can have surgery like me and feel better.”

Rodriguez, who also has CHD, was born with a hole in her heart, a condition called Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and was in mild heart failure. At the age of three she had open heart surgery to close up the hole.

“I can now run and play,” she said. “I love to dance, my favorite style of dance is hip hop.”

Both continue to have check-ups with their cardiologist.

“I wish other kids who have heart issues to know you are brave, strong and tough,” Rodriguez said. “We are fighters!”

2021 Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week is Feb. 7-14. Every year the American Heart Association recognizes and celebrates congenital heart defect (CHD) warriors.

Babies with critical CHDs need surgery or other treatment within the first year of life. Without treatment, critical CHDs can cause serious health problems and death. Nearly 1 in 100 babies is born with a heart defect in the United States each year.

If a CHD is severe, it can often be detected in pregnancy, either during the 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound or a doppler reading of baby’s heart rate. Less severe heart defects may not be detected until after birth or when a child is older.

Newborn screening for critical CHDs involves a simple bedside test called pulse oximetry. This test estimates the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can be a sign of a critical CHD. The test is done using a machine called a pulse oximeter, with sensors placed on the baby’s skin.

Hutchins students are participating in the Kids Heart Challenge through Friday. This activity isn’t just about raising money.

This year students will be focusing on these six things:

Eating fruits and veggies, and avoiding sugary beverages and too much sodium.

Kindness is cool.

Always be smoke free.

Stay active and be fit.

Get organized and hit your goals.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.