Havana Had the Heart to Fight for Life

Havana holds up a photo of herself as a baby in the ICU

When health care, nature and perhaps some mysterious greater plan converge, wonderful things can happen.

Time and the odds were heavily stacked against Havana, born with a potentially fatal heart valve deformity that made corrective surgery to her tiny newborn’s body a risk that doctors at the Children's Hospital Colorado Heart Institute were reluctant to take.

Her heartbroken parents brought their baby girl home for hospice care, anticipating the worst.

But fate had other plans and as the days passed, something extraordinary began to happen. Against all odds, she grew stronger and gained weight, defying the initial prognosis and significantly improving her chances of surviving the vital surgery her fragile heart required.

Surgeons performed two cardiac surgeries within the first month of Havana’s life, but her heart still faced challenges. The experts at Children’s Colorado determined that a heart transplant offered the best chance for her to reach her first birthday and beyond. Havana was placed on the transplant list.

And a second miracle occurred. At just over two months old, Havana received her new heart – and the gift of life from a very special donor.

Today, Havana is a healthy elementary schooler, still carefully monitored by the care teams of Children's Hospital Colorado Heart Institute. Routine blood draws are part of her life to monitor her heart and overall health — checkups softened with prizes, fun bandages, and stickers.

Nicole, Havana’s mother, says “Havana just had that spirit to fight,” and credits the dedicated doctors and cutting-edge technology at Children’s Colorado for giving her daughter a chance to thrive.