Recovering from his fourth open heart surgery, Cade Lindsey received a heart-warming message of love from his fellow students and teachers at Harlan Elementary School on Friday. Approximately 320 students formed a heart containing a message inside the heart, which said, “We love Cade.”
Just 36 hours after his birth, Cade, now 8, of Harlan, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which is a rare congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle of the heart is severely underdeveloped. This syndrome is 100 percent fatal if left untreated.
Cade had his first open heart surgery, the Norwood, at just 6 days old in 2004. His second open heart surgery, the Bidirectional Glenn, was performed in 2005. He also had surgery to repair a coarctation of the aorta in that same year. In between these large surgeries, Cade had a few smaller surgeries along with numerous cardiac catheterizations.
Cade’s parents, Michael and Anne, said it wasn’t until after Cade was a year old that they saw some progress in his development. They said he became a little stronger and was beginning to develop as a baby should, although at a slower pace.
At the age of 3, doctors determined it was time for Cade to have his third open heart surgery, the Fontan. Not expecting to come back for a long time, in August 2011 at a regularly scheduled visit with his pediatric cardiologist, doctors discovered Cade’s oxygen saturation levels had dropped significantly. He was becoming weaker. After several appointments and change of plans, Cade was scheduled for his fourth open heart surgery, the Fontan, in January at Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan.
“Cade is still in the hospital, but we’re being told he is doing well,” said Harlan Elementary School Principal Mary Lou McCarthy. “Cade is a second-grader here at our school and we all wanted him to know how much we love and miss him, so we decided to send him a heartfelt message from everyone.”
McCarthy said this is also National Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week and that was another reason they chose this week to send their heart to Cade.
“Everyone has worn red all week in support of this national designation and in honor of Cade,” said McCarthy. “Cade is one of the most pleasant and loving little boys I have ever known, who always has the sweetest smile on his face. He has such a wonderful attitude considering his health and his age. He has a brother named Shane, who is a fourth-grader here at Harlan Elementary School and his maternal grandparents are Harlan residents Tommy and Clara Pope. We’re sending a copy of the heart message to Cade by his father who is traveling to see him today. We all hope he realizes just how much we care.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org