'Her heart is failing:' A little girl's Christmas wish for an organ donor
All eight-year-old McKayla Warder wants for Christmas this year is a new heart.
McKayla was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect that develops during pregnancy. Doctors told her parents there was a one per cent chance she would survive the birth.
But, the little miracle child continued to defy expectations. After multiple surgeries, including an experimental surgery while in her mother’s womb, McKayla will soon be celebrating her eighth birthday.
“Now she can't walk and she can't talk, but she is striving every day, doing more and more than what the doctors didn't think she would be able to do,” her mother, Rejeanne Warder, said.
The family has been living at Ronald McDonald House on-and-off again for the last few years and will be spending the holidays there again this December, waiting for a call from SickKids hospital that a heart donor has been found.
Once the call comes, the family has to get to the hospital within minutes.
“Her heart is failing. It’s enlarged. So now all we need to do is wait for a donor,” Rejeanne said.
McKayla’s father works in Windsor and visits on the weekends. Her four siblings stay at Ronald McDonald House with McKayla and her mother. They continue to stay positive throughout the ordeal and have faith that the phone call they’ve been waiting for will come soon.
“I think she will be getting her heart soon, especially since we’ve been waiting for so long,” her older brother Zachary said.
“I get very scared sometimes, because she is my only sister and I love her a lot,” said Jasmine, McKayla’s sister.
But, until the phone call comes, the family said they are blessed to be together for the holidays.
“The biggest thing is just being together,” Rejeanne said. “Being together and making every memory, every occasion, every holiday count, is a blessing. It’s the biggest gift.”
With files from CTV News Toronto's Michelle Dube.