Local Family Celebrates Life Long after Child's Heart Transplant

By: Alicia Turner
August 18, 2014
7:07am

Birthdays are something a lot of us take for granted, but for one Tallahassee family, their celebration means everything

Chloe Novak celebrated her fourth birthday Sunday August 10. However, it’s a birthday some thought she would never see.

"It's a second chance on life," said Carolyn Novak.

When Chloe's mom Carolyn was four months pregnant, doctors told her they knew something was wrong with Chloe’s heart but not what.

"They could never tell us for sure, but actually the worse case scenario they gave us what could have happened, happened,” said Chloe’s mom.

Chloe was born with Turner Syndrome which is a genetic defect in chromosomes that affects development in females. She also had multiple heart defects. By the time Chloe was two she was on life support, in complete organ failure, and deemed ineligible for a heart transplant.

Her mom said at that point they had made the decision they thought would be best.

"It was hard to watch someone suffer, so much and actually the day before. We didn't want to pull the plugs on her birthday but we had the talk, because she was obviously suffering,” Carolyn said.

Just one day after Chloe's second birthday the Novak’s received the second chance they had been waiting for

"I guess at four in the morning we got the phone call that she received a heart and she's been great ever since," said Chloe’s mom.

Her dad, Tom, said he just couldn't put in to words what the moment felt like.

"It's just a rush of emotions because no one thought she would ever be at this stage," said Tom.

These days Chloe is walking talking and more vibrant than ever, and like most toddlers she loves selfies. Chloe also has a favorite artist, Glenn Phillips. Phillips came and met Chloe in the hospital and held an online concert for her to raise money for her heart transplant.

Chloe’s dad stays home with her and says she’s never met a stranger.

"With everything that she's been though with people coming in to run test, and take blood to put in IV's, she doesn't hold that against anyone she's just such a good-natured person.”

He said she teaches him every day as much as he teaches her if not more.

Research in congenital heart failure has made big strides in recent years. The next walk in Tallahassee will be October 10.

For more information you can visit heartwalk.org.


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