Zoey's Heart Story - Coarctation of the Aorta and VSDs

Zoey was 6 days old when her local doctors discovered she had coarctation of the aorta and three large ventricular septal defects (VSDs). Watch the video to catch up with Zoey and her mom and find out how Zoey is doing today after undergoing heart surgery at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Read more about Zoey's journey.



Zoey's Heart Story - Coarctation of the Aorta and VSDs

Jacquline Hardy: Can you show mommy where your heart is on your chest? Very good. 

This is Zoey Hardy and my name is Jacqueline Hardy. And this is Zoey's heart story. We found out when Zoey was six-days-old that Zoey had a heart condition. We brought her to a South Jersey trauma center where she was diagnosed after an echo with a heart defect. And with that heart defect we were told that she would have to be… All right. We were told that she had to be helivaced to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

When we arrived at CHOP, we walked through the atrium and we had so much just hope walking through the atrium alone because it was so cheerful. And we walked upstairs to the 6th floor to the CICU. They told us the term that would change our life forever which was… we were told that Zoey had congenital heart disease. She had coarctation of the aorta and multiple VSDs. We met with the doctor and he explained that Zoey needed to have heart surgery but she was too sick to have it. 

So three days later when Zoey was 10 days old she had her very first heart surgery. It was very, very hard to go through but we were very lucky that Dr. Thomas Spray performed all of her surgeries, including her first one. Zoey also had a stomach surgery that was done and that stay took four weeks, actually a little over a month it happened. 

So after her first six weeks there, we brought her home and it was a very trying time for us. Zoey did very, very well. 

She did have her second open heart surgery when she was a little over a year old. Dr. Spray also did her second surgery. She did extremely well. When she first woke up she gave us this big, big spunky smile, as I call it. And with that, we knew that everything was going to be OK. 

And CHOP's motto is "Hope Lives Here." Not only does hope live there but CHOP does something amazing, they put hope in my heart, and it will forever live there. And I don't think anybody could ever give you that piece of mind. So any family that is being faced with the diagnosis of congenital heart disease, my biggest thing is, is that you have to have hope. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is the best hospital that's around. There is no other place like it. 

Zoey is the biggest part of our life and right now as you can see, she is a vivacious 2 1/2 year old. She talks. She walks. She runs. She does everything that any other 2 1/2 year olds would do. And I owe that to CHOP. Because CHOP saved her life. 

This is a child that we were told wasn't supposed to make it, and she did. She beat the odds. So don't you ever give up hope because that little kid that's right over there, Zoey, right over there, that you can see. She is very, very active and very happy. And she loves everybody. So thank you for listening to Zoey's heart story.

Related Centers and Programs: Cardiac Center