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This weekend was full of excitement, joy, and hope as The Pattyn Project took on our first double room weekend. The first was a small but mighty nine year old girl named Ella, who was waiting alongside her family to receive a heart transplant. The plethora of things decorating Ella's room before we arrived reflected the amazing amount of support she has had from her parents Jeff and Dana along with her big brother Tyson throughout her medical journey. Born with a congenital heart defect, Ella was no stranger to the hospital, having 8 heart surgeries before age 5 as well as several other operations. She is now staying in Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC while she patiently awaits her new "happy heart" to replace the "sad" one she has now. Ella was the picture of quiet strength as she sat in her wagon when we arrived to do her room. She was on her way to the playroom thinking we needed the room to ourselves, but we asked her to stay and help us make some very important decisions about her space, her smile in agreement lit the room.
Ella loves all things pink and "sophisticated" princess. We brought her a pink and purple tent to use as an escape to a private space while she is in her room, a Sophia the First comforter, various Doc McStuffins toys, as well as a handful of games, crafts and activities that could be done bedside as spending time out of bed can be taxing at times. We also brought her an easel to help her express her creative side. While sitting in her wagon, we completed a butterfly craft that we later hung on an existing string that was holding up princess and ribbon decorations. As Ella hugged her Doc McStuffins lovie, we went through a very special book we found that we knew would be perfect for our first patient awaiting a heart on the cardiac unit. The book was a book of feelings, describing our hearts as houses that can hold many different emotions. We talked about the many different ways our hearts can express emotion, such as being sad, happy, mad, calm, and afraid and that all of these were ok things to feel. We were so grateful for the opportunity to meet this special family and have a small impact on the long road ahead of them. Their evident love for each other encouraged us all.
Thank you to everyone who has shown us ongoing support, as well as new friends who have come alongside of us, as we pursue this passion. We couldn’t do it without you! We hope you all will continue to consider donating to this special cause, so we can continue to lift the spirits of young fighters like Ella. We ask that you all keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers during the remainder of her stay in the hospital, as we hope for persistent progress, and a smooth upcoming transplant when Ella's new “happy heart” arrives. Thank You Ella!