The Jessops

Elijah Jessop

Elijah Jessop

Elijah is a sticky-fingered, hair-raising, ball of a good time.

He can usually be found either following his big sister or tormenting his little brother but either way he is running, not walking and laughing hysterically” his mom Paula says. You would be hard pressed to find anyone as happy (or as busy) as this little boy. It’s hard to believe that he underwent his first heart surgery before he was even born. It’s harder to believe that he had 3 open heart surgeries and several catheterization procedures before his first birthday. Today he is about to turn 2 and is under no restrictions, is taking no medications and has only a scar to distinguish him from any other child. Elijah’s mom says “The sky is the limit for Elijah thanks to the staff at Sick Kids. He may be one in one hundred statistically, but his is one in a million to us.

The Farahs

Arezo Farah

Arezo Farah

My name is Arezo Farah. I was born on May 26, 2002, and I am now a teenager. My hobbies include taekwondo, singing, reading, and math. Shortly after birth, I was diagnosed with Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries with Ventricular Septal Defect, Dextrocardia, and Bilateral Superior Vena Cavas. I know, it’s a lot, right? That’s why when I was a year old, I underwent a complete surgical repair with a Mustard procedure, a Rastelli procedure, disconnection of the pulmonary artery stump and creation of a conduit between my right ventricle and pulmonary artery, and a right-sided bidirectional cavopulmonary connection to offload my right ventricle and connect my “SVCs” to my “PA”. In other words, my heart was on the right whereas it should be on the left, therefore they had to rearrange some veins and arteries. My family and I are very grateful to the Heart Centre at SickKids for all their continuous support and never-ending research. They really put an effort to make a difference in many families’ lives by providing the technology and care and support from doctors that we need to help kids thrive. I would like to thank SickKids and my cardiologist Dr. Golding for all that they’ve done and continue to do for me. All of my procedures have gone great, and I feel perfectly normal. I can keep up with the average kid my age, as well as my friends at my taekwondo club. My yearly follow-ups have been going great, and it’s a huge relief to hear that everything’s going smoothly. I think it is important to support Heart Research because children like me who are born with heart disease deserve to play, participate in physical activities, and lead a normal life just like other kids our age.

I support Hope for Hearts and I hope you will choose to give children like me the possibility to have a better life.

The Jankes

Eli Janke

Eli Janke

“On March 23, 2013 we had our little boy, Mr. Eli Janke. He was so gorgeous and perfect. During labour at Sunnybrook when they attached the heart monitor on my stomach they noticed that Eli’s heart was 220bm. The nurses called the doctor on call and initially they could not tell me what was wrong,” says Eli’s mom. “My delivery was normal, but something didn’t feel right. Ultimately they called the cardiac clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children and discovered Eli had supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a cardiac condition characterized by a racing heartbeat caused by electrical misfiring in the heart.” The moment Eli was born he was immediately on medicine to halt the arrhythmia. Eli became a patient of the Cardiac Clinic at SickKids and Dr. Lynne Nield became Eli’s pediatric cardiologist. She worked to find the right combination of medication to keep Eli’s SVT in check. It took two weeks in the Cardiac Clinic, with a short stint at Sunnybrook’s Intensive Care Unit, before Eli could return home. He needed to go 24 hours without an episode to be released. “We had four or five false starts, but as we got near discharge, it would always start up again. It took the right combination of three medicinal cocktails in the right doses to keep Eli’s arrhythmias at bay. He had a very persistent type and needed a combination of medications.”

“At SickKids, we definitely felt like we were a part of Eli’s care team. Being included in the daily rounds was a strong point. There were all these brilliant people in the room, but they were very humble. They didn’t make you feel like you were at a lower level if you didn’t understand something. They made sure we were there when they discussed that day’s care plan. They asked us for our input and respected our knowledge.

About 75 percent of babies who have SVT will outgrow it by the time they are 1 to 2 years old. In many children, as the heart grows, the accessory electrical pathway is pulled apart. If Eli is among the other 25 percent, the next step, when he is much older, would be a catheter ablation procedure to permanently eliminate SVT.

“We would only trust SickKids, if Eli needs an ablation,” says Eli’s mom.

Eli has not been hospitalized since he was four weeks old. He now takes one medication twice a day and is as busy as any 2-year-old — climbing on anything and everything. Every three to six months, he sees Dr. Nield and wears a Holter monitor for 24 hours, which records his heart rate to make sure he isn’t going into arrhythmia. As Eli continues to grow, Dr. Nield and the Cardiac Clinic at SickKids will be there to provide the expert cardiac care he needs.

“I support Hope for Hearts because children like Eli deserve the best and most innovative care. I hope you will chose to do the same.”

The Robinsons

Cooper Robinson

Cooper Robinson

“In December of 2014,” Laura says, “my husband Brad and I went in for what we thought was a routine ultrasound for a low lying placenta. We didn’t know at that time that our visit was the beginning of a journey that would have forever changed our lives.”

The ultrasound detected a condition known as ascites in Cooper’s abdomen. After further investigation, it was determined that Cooper was experiencing heart failure due to a condition called supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).

Laura was admitted immediately at Mount Sinai hospital and from there she was put into the care of Dr. Edgar Jaeggi and his team in the Fetal Cardiac Program at SickKids. Laura recalls those emotional days, “I spent the next week and weeks to follow taking several medications to stabilize Cooper’s heart and being monitored closely by the team at SickKids, undergoing a series of Fetal Echos and ECGs. Luckily for us, Cooper responded quickly to the medication – his heart stabilized and the fluid began to dissipate from his system.

Cooper ended up going full term and was born on February 10, 2015. He spent a week at SickKids after delivery where he was monitored closely to make sure that the heart failure did not return. After 72 hours, he underwent a procedure to try and induce the SVT – luckily this procedure came back negative. Cooper was released from the hospital shortly thereafter and has since grown into a happy and healthy toddler.

“Although the experience was emotional and scary, we truly feel blessed that we had the initial ultrasound before Cooper was born and that the SVT was detected. Without the outstanding care we received from SickKids and the research and funding that has been put behind the Fetal Cardiac Program, our son Cooper likely wouldn’t be here today. We will be eternally grateful to Dr. Jaeggi and his team for saving our baby boy’s life,” says Laura.

We encourage those who are able, to donate to this extremely important program so that other families in need can have a similar outcome as we did in the future.”