4-Year-Old Great Falls Girl Undergoing Third Open Heart Surgery - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

4-Year-Old Great Falls Girl Undergoing Third Open Heart Surgery

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Grace Raines is your average 4-year-old girl. She loves to hula hoop and sing. But unlike the average 4-year-old, from the moment she was born, she had to fight a few battles.

"I was 20 weeks pregnant when we went to find out what we were having,, when they told us about her heart" says Grace's mother, April Harrison.

A specialist monitored her heart through the ultra sound and found Grace had hypoplastic right heart syndrome which means her right ventricle didn't fully develop, making it hard for blood to pump to her lungs.

"At 5-weeks-old she had her first open heart surgery. When she came out of surgery, they had her covered in a blanket. When we finally were able to go in and see her in the cardiac ICU, she had tubes, just she was covered (with tubes)."

At 10-months-old, she had another heart procedure and now the family is gearing up for a third in August in Texas.

"This heart surgery is called the fontan procedure. They take the bottom two-thirds of the blood that runs through her body like her legs and they will amputate that main artery from her heart and shunt it to her lungs."

Grace's doctors say this will be the worst and hardest surgery she will have to go through. Recovery can be anywhere from a week to more than four weeks.

"We have a lot of church family and family down in Texas who are there. They all show up at the hospital. We do a prayer circle around her and then we send her on her way."

To help cover traveling, lodging and medical expenses, the Great Falls community can come out to the String Sports Bar on Tuesday, July 9 from 4 p.m. and on. There will be a silent auction and spaghetti feed.


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