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Parents of girl with half a heart on a mission to find treatment

todayMay 15, 2024 1

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Like any two-year-old, Cora is exploring her independence. Cora, born premature, has a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means…

“She was born with only half of a functioning heart. The left side of her heart is essentially absent,” said her Mom, Allison Millar.

30 years ago, there was nothing doctors could do, but now a series of three open heart surgeries can improve the heart she does have. Cora has one more operation to go.

“Basically to re-plumb her heart,” said her dad, Anthony Millar. “And so that it takes the load off of her heart, so hopefully she can grow up and be a strong, healthy kiddo.”

For Allison and Anthony, watching their child go through open heart surgery twice has been tough.

“Cora has gone through a lot,” said Anthony. “But you wouldn’t know that she has half a heart, she loves to play, she’s very energetic, and she’s funny, and she loves her pets.”

What does a kitty say? “Meow,” said Cora.Talking into the KELOLAND microphone may be fun today, but every day is baking day. She’s helping her parents make granola cookies. She loves to bake.

“Oh, you want the other book? Oh, I got the wrong recipe book, this one. Yep, ok!Watch as this two-year-old flips the pages and finds the recipe she wants. “Granola, that’s right. How could she know that?

Cora doesn’t want to watch, but she really helps. Since Cora’s diagnosis, the Millars, who are both nurses, have become aware of other families going through similar hardships.

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“Even us working in health care, we were blinded by how prevalent it was. We had no idea; now, being a couple of years out from our inpatient days, it seems like it is everywhere,” said Allison.

They’ve connected with other families and are taking the lead for an upcoming event to raise awareness and money for research.

“HeartWorks is the company that we are fundraising money for with this event and they are working on creating cardiac tissue, so where Cora has a very weakened and absent left side of her heart, the hope would be that if we could strengthen that it would improve her overall cardiac function which then allows her to run more and play more and live longer and not be confined to a hospital or waiting on a transplant,” said Allison.

Right now, Cora is doing well, but the Millars know that could change, so they are enjoying the time they have and soaking up every bit of joy she brings to their lives.

Their event, “Bikes and Brews,” takes place June 29th. You can just show up, walk, or pedal in the 10k bike ride. The event is hosted by Severance Brewing Company on North Phillips Avenue.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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