Mother shares story of daughter's heart survival
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - More than one hundred babies are born every year with a congenital heart defect, including 2 and a half year old Georgie Schumacher. Her mom Rachel describes her as a fighter.
"This is her incision," said Schumacher. "Her scars here are from her chest tube."
Georgie was born with five congenital heart defects, including two holes in her heart.
"The overwhelming fear and anxiety is indescribable," said Schumacher.
The tiny baby went through testing, scans and surgeries, before finally meeting big brother Charles. It was an emotional meeting for everyone.
"So he finally got to meet her," said Schumacher. "She was 23 days old, and it was one of the most special days of my life. It was the fear, the fear that she might not make it."
Now, after lots of doctor's appointments, scans and physical therapy, Georgie is a typical toddler.
Georgie is the 2024 American Heart Association's survivor, and will be featured at this year's Heart Ball. It's an event that raises money for research to help detect and fix heart defect's like hers.
"In the future, I hope these defects will be found in utero," said Schumacher. "Georgie's was not found in utero. That's where the technology needs a little bit more. It would have been found a little bit earlier."
Schumacher credits a new nurse practitioner for finding Georgie's heart defect right before she was being released from the hospital, so she knows the importance of telling this story.
"It's not just about the research. It's about education to teach our providers to take that extra look," said Schumacher. "I don't know her. I wouldn't be able to pick her out of a crowd, but she saved my kid's life, and I'm in debt to her for that."
A life that is expected to be healthy and happy for years to come.
"She has a lot of strength, bravery, resilience, drive, and I'm proud of myself for getting her the care that she needs."
Georgie should not have to have another heart surgery until she's in her 50's or 60's, which is a true testament to what doctors can do now.