At just four years old, Addybell needed open heart surgery. Born with a heart disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy that puts her at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, Addy was getting an internal ICD placed. An ICD is similar to a pacemaker and is placed under the skin. When an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the device delivers an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat.
This isn’t a simple procedure and proved more difficult because Addy has a sensory processing disorder. She is very sensitive to certain fabrics, tapes and touch.
Fun Designs and Soft Fabric Make All the Difference
In the hospital setting, Addy became agitated and uncomfortable. She was in an unfamiliar environment, being touched by unfamiliar faces. For any child, this is a scary situation, but for Addy it was heightened.
Then she was given a Starlight Gown by a hospital staff member.
“The princess gown made her feel like she was playing dress up before she had open heart surgery,” Stephanie, Addy’s mom, recalls.
The family wanted to do a t-shirt campaign before surgery, but all the shirts were too stiff and itchy. When she felt the Starlight gowns, Stephanie was so happy the fabric was soft enough for her daughters skin.
“Thank you, Starlight, for making my 4-year-old having open heart surgery smile and help accommodate her sensory processing needs with these beautiful, buttery soft gowns. She smiled so bright!”
There were complications during the first day of surgery and she had to endure another one the following day. This time, the nurse gave Addy a diver Starlight Gown. Addy especially loved it because she was born in Hawaii and her mom pointed out all the fish on the gown.
Starlight Gowns Bring Joy Outside of the Hospital
Addy’s incision became infected a few days after surgery. Afraid she might have to go back to the hospital, she grabbed her Starlight Gown.
She looked up at her mom and said, “Mom, I’m going to sleep in my gown tonight so my scar will be safe.”
Starlight Gowns are just one of the ways that, together, we are making a difference in the lives of hospitalized children and their families.
There is no cure for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and is very rare and more complicated to manage in children. Addy has a long road ahead of her, but her strength and smile through her hospital stay inspires us to continue to provide programs like Starlight Gowns to kids when they need it most.
“Having something like a gown, may be a small thing, but it really is a big thing to kids like Addy,” Stephanie said.
Donate today and you can help other kids feel the joy and comfort of a Starlight Gown and bring a smile to their face.