Kansas boy recovering from heart condition suddenly dies at daycare

Posted: Updated:
TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE) -

It was a seemingly normal Thursday when Paige and Jason Caudle dropped their 4-year-old son, Henry, off at daycare in Topeka, not knowing it would be the last time they'd see their son alive. 

"He had collapsed at daycare," Jason said. "One of the kids called the teacher and said Henry was hurt. They started doing everything they could and needed to do at that time. Between the people there and the paramedics, they tried for a long time to bring him back around, and his little heart just couldn't do it."

KTKA reports that when Paige was about 27 weeks pregnant, the couple learned that Henry had a severe congenital heart defect that couldn't be cured. 

"He was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome," Paige said. "Basically, that's where the left side of his heart didn't develop for whatever reason."

Henry received three open heart surgeries over the years. 

"It's not a condition that can be cured," Jason said. "The best they can do is rearrange and reorganize the arteries and veins around the heart, to let the half of a heart that he had, do the work of a full heart."

After his latest surgery last summer, Henry seemed stronger. Doctors had no concerns at his last appointment in December, making his death on January 24 even more sudden for his family. 

"It was just so heartbreaking because after everything he's gone through, there wasn't anything more we could do for him," Paige said. "So we just held him and told him how much we loved him."

Henry's parents are spreading awareness of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) in hopes of helping other kids live long, healthy lives. 

"The more awareness we can bring to it, hopefully that can help other families," Jason said. "Hopefully that can help doctors and researchers improve outcomes for these kids."

"My goal would be just to continue on, have everyone remember Henry's name, and raise funds and awareness on what CHD is and what others can do," Paige said. 

More about Henry's journey here 

The "Henry J Caudle Memorial Fund" is set up at CoreFirst Bank and Trust. Donations can also be made in Henry's name to other local organizations that helped him in his journey including: TARC, Tiny K Program, TDC Learning Center, The Ronald McDonald House Charities, Sister-by-Heart, and Children's Mercy Hospital.