We met Baby Tessa and her family at our Baltimore Heart Ball on Saturday February 23, 2019. Tessa was born on February 5, 2018 with multiple heart defects: LTGA, VSD, ASD, Pulmonary Atresia, Aortic Stenosis and a Hypoplastic Right Coronary Artery. She has spent most of her life in the hospital. She was listed as Status 1A on the heart transplant list on July 8, 2018 and on February 23, 2019, the night of the Baltimore Heart Ball, she had been on the transplant list for 225 days.
On Monday February 25, 2019, her 227th day on the transplant list, her parents, Courtney and John Agnoli received the call they had been waiting and praying for, Tessa was getting a heart! Tessa’s journey to a new heart hasn’t been easy and even after receiving her heart, she has still had to overcome obstacles. Her medical team never counted her out, just knew she had a new mountain to climb. Her right ventricle began to not work properly, her arteries needed to be ballooned with a heart Cath, she had to be placed on ECMO, she was fighting a fever and truly just adjusting to receiving her miracle heart.
Tessa’s fighting(some say feisty) spirit shined when she climbed the mountain and began to overcome and on day 235 of her journey, her mom Courtney wrote: “Tessa amazes us more and more every day! She continues to do well off ECMO. Her team can now start to work on weaning her sedation. We can’t wait to get our smiley girl back once some of these drugs wear off a bit!”
We are so thankful for Tessa’s incredible medical team, Dr. Kaushal and Dr. Baker-Smith, her nurses and so many others who have never given up on her and have given her this chance at life. We are so thankful to the donor family who chose to give this incredible gift while mourning their loss. And when we think things are tough, we look into the eyes of Tessa Sloane, Warrior Princess, a sweet one-year-old who has been through more in her life than most ever will and see her fighting spirit and then her eyes sparkle with joy, we know that each day is a gift and we are truly grateful.
Tessa’s fight will never be over, but with her new heart, she gets to keep fighting and we can’t wait to see where this journey leads.
The mission of the American Heart Association is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. I combine my passion of storytelling and relationship building to further the mission.