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Meet little Iowa girl with a special heart – KCCI Des Moines

Piper’s ‘special heart’: 2-year-old has received 2 heart surgeries, 3rd surgery this summer


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STEVE: A WAUKEE FAMILY IS SHARING THEIR DAUGHTER’S HEART DISEASE STORY WITH KCCI’S ALYX SACKS. MEET PIPER IN TONIGHT’S FAMILY MATTERS. >> HER FAMILY CALLS IT HER SPECIAL HEART. AT JUST TO YEARS OLD PIPER , VEENSTRA HAS HAD TWO OPEN HEART SURGERIES. >> EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T SHOW ANY OUTWARD SIGNS THEY ARE , FIGHTING BIG BATTLES INSIDE EACH DAY. AT A 20-WEEK PRENATAL ULTRA SOUND DIANA AND KYLE VEENSTRA GOT THE HEARTBREAKING DIAGNOSIS. >> SHE HAS TRICUSPID ATRESIA . SOME REFER TO IT AS HALF A HEART SO THE RIGHT SIDE OF HER HEART , IS SEVERLY UNDER-DEVELOPED. >> PIPER WENT STRAIGHT TO THE NICU WHEN SHE WAS BORN. SHE WAS ONE MONTH OLD WHEN SHE HAD HER FIRST OPEN HEART SURGERY. HER SECOND, AT 6 MONTHS. >> A LITTLE BIT LESS THAN A WEEK AFTER WE WERE DISCHARGED FROM THE HOSPITAL WE LEARNED THAT A CLOT HAD ACTUALLY FORMED AND SO THEY RUSHED HER INTO AN EMERGENCY PROCEDURE IN THE CATH LAB AND LUCKILY THEY WERE ABLE TO GET THROUGH THE CLOT WITHOUT HAVING TO OPEN HER BACK UP AGAIN. >> NOW, THEY’RE TAKING IT ONE DAY AT A TIME. AND ONE OF HER INTERESTS AT A TIME. >> SHE LOVES DOING HAIR RIGHT NOW. THE DOLLS NEED ALL THE BOWS. ALL THE BOWS. >> >> ALL THE BOWS. AND ALL THE HAIR TIES. >> BUT MOST OF ALL RIGHT NOW, SHE LOVES DANCING. >> SHE’S MADE QUITE A FEW FRIENDS JUST THIS YEAR WHILE DANCING. >> I THINK IT WAS NEAT SEEING HER CONFIDENCE GROW TOO. >> BUT SHE’S NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET. PIPER WILL BE 3 NEXT MONTH AND HER THIRD OPEN HEART SURGERY IS THIS SUMMER. >> AFTER THIS SURGERY OBVIOUSLY SHE’LL HAVE A MODIFIED HEART. YOU WOULDN’T EVEN NOTICE RIGHT, MAYBE A LITTLE BIT OF SHORTNESS OF BREATH BUT THE IDEA BEING THAT SHE’S JUST A NORMAL LITTLE GIRL. >> NORMAL, BUT WITH A SPECIAL HEART. AND NOW SHE’S DANCING HER WAY RIGHT INTO OUR ALYX: THE VEENSTRA’S SAY THEIR GOAL IS TO SPREAD AWARENESS AND HELP RAISE MONEY FOR THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION TO FUND MORE RESEARCH. SO KIDS AND ADULTS LIKE PIPER CAN LIVE LONGER, HEALTHIER

Piper’s ‘special heart’: 2-year-old has received 2 heart surgeries, 3rd surgery this summer

February is American Heart Month and this week is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says every four-and-a-half minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the U.S. A heart defect is the most common.Iowan Piper Veentsra is one of those babies. Only about half of Piper’s heart works properly.Her mom, Diane Veenstra, says the two-year-old has already undergone two open heart surgeries.”To watch her go through this at 1 month and then at 6 months, she has been through more just during that time span than some have in their entire lives and so to watch how resilient she has been, (it’s) just been incredible,” said Veenstra.She’s not out of the woods yet. KCCI’s Alyx Sacks sat down with the Veenstras to chat about what’s next in Piper’s treatment, and how they’re preparing.

DES MOINES, Iowa —

February is American Heart Month and this week is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says every four-and-a-half minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the U.S. A heart defect is the most common.

Iowan Piper Veentsra is one of those babies. Only about half of Piper’s heart works properly.

Her mom, Diane Veenstra, says the two-year-old has already undergone two open heart surgeries.

“To watch her go through this at 1 month and then at 6 months, she has been through more just during that time span than some have in their entire lives and so to watch how resilient she has been, (it’s) just been incredible,” said Veenstra.

She’s not out of the woods yet. KCCI’s Alyx Sacks sat down with the Veenstras to chat about what’s next in Piper’s treatment, and how they’re preparing.

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