Sandi’s daughter Shelby was born with a congenital heart defect and required open heart surgery at just one week old to connect her heart and lung. Here is Shelby’s story, told by her mom.

My daughter is “Why I Go Red”. My daughter, who is now 13, was born with a heart defect.  It took the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center pediatric cardiology team a week to figure out what the issue was.  It was a very long week for sure.  I clearly remember walking into the NICU and seeing several members of the cardiology team surrounding Shelby’s crib trying desperately to figLePetitStudio--9ure out what was wrong. They finally determined that her right pulmonary artery was not connected to her lung, so a one week old, she had open heart surgery.  That was also a very long day – an 8 hour surgery! The first concern coming out of the surgery was that her heart did not beat on its own.  The doctors determined that she needed a pacemaker, so at 2 weeks old she had a pacemaker put in her belly.  The second and biggest concern was whether or not the artery would stay attached as she grew.  After several years of closely monitoring the blood flow, etc. the doctors have told us just this year, that they are no longer concerned.  What a relief for us all!

The head cardiologist said to me that if this had happen to my then 7 years son, they would not have had the technology to save him. There were a lot of ups and downs through the years, however we are very grateful for the continued research and support of the American Heart Association.S&S_bw

A special thank you to Christine Petit of Le Petit Studio for taking photos of the Hoffman Go Red Gallery women.


Shelby’s Update:

Shelby Markey has had a fantastic year! Shortly after last year’s Go Red Luncheon, she went in and had the generator (battery) of her pacemaker replaced at CCMC by Dr. Shae and his team. As always, the staff at CCMC took wonderful care of her.  Shelby even got a special visit at the end of the day from her cardiologist, Dr. Salazar.  Shelby and her mom were so touched that Dr. Salazar stopped by to check on her after a long day of work!  It is so increditable the advancements made in 7 short years since her last generator replacement.  She now submits her transmissions via an app on her cell phone and the generator is now scheduled to last 10 years (vs. 5 to 7 years previously).  This would not be possible if it wasn’t for supporters like those who support AHA.

Over the summer she and her best friend spent a week in Cape Cod relaxing and seeing the sights before going into her freshman year of high school. Shelby had a busy fall supporting both the AHA Walk and attending the Heart Ball.  Team Shelby, sponsored by Aetna, raised almost $10,000 during the walk!  She is also very active with after school activities that focus on her love of the theater.  She is involved in the local YMCA production of The Beauty and the Beast as a technical crew member, in her high school play of The Addams Family on the Front of the House support team as well as assisting with Unified Theater.  Even with all this, she has made honor roll both semesters.

She is looking forward to seeing everyone at this year’s Go Red Luncheon!



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