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NOV 19 - NOV 26, 2015

Tiny Heart Transplant Candidate Needs Your Help to Make it Through Tough Time

Mike Hudson

NOV 19, 2015

With her bags packed, Leigha comes home from the hospital after a 44 day stay following a September heart failure.
That first feeling of the breeze on your skin is an exciting thing for anyone who has just experienced a lengthy hospitalization. Little Leigha is no exception!
Like any 2-year old, Leigha can be obstinate at times. Here, she refuses to take her nap.

Anyone who is a parent knows the anguish of a child suffering from a high fever, a relatively common childhood illness such as chicken pox or the mumps, or a broken bone caused by some playground mishap.

For Danielle Faling, whose two year old daughter Leigha suffers from a myriad of congestive heart problems, such problems would be a welcome relief.

Doctors first noticed Leigha’s condition when Danielle was six weeks pregnant with her. Since she was born she has had two open heart surgeries, multiple hospital visits and seven full blood transfusions. Her first surgery was when she was just 1 week old and her second before her first birthday.

Even throughout all of this Leigha has been a true hero to everyone waking up every day with a smile on her face and bringing joy to everyone she meets with her amazing attitude and courage.

Leigha has a long battle ahead of her. Doctors say that if she doesn’t get a heart transplant, she probably won’t live past the age of 10.

But if she’s anything like her mother, a positive attitude and proactive stance has often gone a long way in proving the health care professionals wrong.

“She’s our little miracle,” Danielle said. “Every day we get to spend with her is a miracle.”

After suffering heart failure in September, the beautiful little girl spent 44 days in the hospital, finally coming home on November 1.

As many American’s discover to their dismay in times of crisis, it is the insurance company rather than the family physician who makes the final judgement about what care is administered.

On Wednesday, the long awaited approval came through.

“I’m calling to make the appointment now,” Danielle said Wednesday. “We’ve been waiting on pins and needles for this.”

Now the challenge will be for the doctors to find little Leigha a compatible heart, she added.

Until then, Leigha will remain bound to oxygen tanks and continue to receive nourishment by way of feeding tubes.

“She’s our little warrior,” Danielle says. “And we’re just taking it day by day.”

Regular trips to hospitals in Rochester and Pittsburg have left the family financially strapped. Danielle, who works as a cook in Buffalo, often has to decide whether to visit her daughter or stay home and earn money.

She posts regularly on a Facebook page she created called Leigha Updates, and a Basket Auction and Pasta Dinner fundraiser is planned for this Sunday, November 22, from 12-6 p.m., at the Volare Lodge, 5615 Kies Avenue, to help defray expenses.

“I just want to thank everyone for their support, prayers, and donations through this hard time. Every little bit helps,” Danielle said. “It truly means so much to us to see the amount of support and love that we have. As Leigha’s medical journey continues its a little easier knowing we have so many people on our team. Thank you all again and much much love.”

If Niagara Falls is known for anything, it is having a big heart. Hopefully, people there will share some of that this Sunday with a beautiful little girl who’s having some trouble with hers.






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