With big brown eyes and a smile that warms the hearts of everyone he meets, 2-year-old Luke Hill, of Fresh Meadows, was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome at birth.
At the age of only 6 days, Luke had his first surgery to repair his heart. At the age of six months, another surgery had to be done and his third surgery was performed on July 22.
“With Luke’s third surgery he had some unexpected complications,” said his father and mother, Jason and Misty Hill. “The main complication was with his diaphragms, which were paralyzed after his surgery. One side usually gets paralyzed after surgery and the other side still works, but in Luke’s case both sides were paralyzed. His doctor, who has been doing this type of surgery for the past 25 years, said he has never seen both sides paralyzed.”
Jason said the doctors are “hopeful” the paralysis will leave, but added “it may take months.”
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a complex and rare heart defect present at birth. In hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped and the left side of the heart can’t effectively pump blood to the body, so the right side of the heart must pump blood both to the lungs and to the rest of the body.
“Luke is such a sweet child. He’s what we call a community child,” said Jason. “Everybody wants to hold him and hug him no matter where we go. Everybody loves Luke.”
Luke has a sister, Savannah, 7, who is a student at Wallins Elementary School. She has been with her family in Louisville since the surgery but had to return home for school. Her father said even after weeks of being at the hospital with her brother she “never once complained.”
“We have so many friends and family in Harlan County who have helped us in so many ways,” said Jason. “Words can’t explain the appreciation we feel in our hearts. We give God all the credit for the journey we are on with our precious son. God has been with all of us every step of the way. My wife and I ask everyone to continue praying for Luke and our entire family.”
Now at Kosair Children’s Hospital, in Louisville, the family has been there with their son since July 21. During that time they have incurred many out-of-the-pocket expenses.
To help the family with their financial burden, a benefit dinner and silent auction will be held Aug. 23 from 4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Loyall. Tickets are $6.50, minimum donation, and are available for pre-purchase. If you would like dinner and a T-shirt, the minimum donation will be $15, with all proceeds going to the Hill family.
“Our desire is to come together as a community to help this family during this trying time,” said event organizer Amie Lake. “Please join us to help support this family. There will be live entertainment, a spaghetti dinner and a silent auction.”
For more information about the event, you may contact Lake at 606-269-3343, Jerebeth Saylor at 606-521-1135 or Darcy Card at 606-273-1550. You may also view some of the items being offered for auction on Facebook under “Luke Hill Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction.”
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde